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Title: Refuge and Deliverance: Religion and Politics in Modern Jamaica
Authors: Bloomfield, Kijan
Advisors: Glaude, Jr., Eddie S
Contributors: Religion Department
Keywords: Ethnography
Subjects: Religion
Caribbean studies
African American studies
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Refuge and Deliverance: Religion and Politics in Modern Jamaica is an interdisciplinary study on religion and politics in Jamaica. Using historical, archival, and ethnographic methods, this study centers religion, specifically Christianity, as the primary framework to analyze national and community discourses around progress and social change during the late nineteenth century; the 1972 and 1980 elections; and a 2010 security operation in Tivoli Gardens, a garrison community in West Kingston. Though religion permeates public discourse, it is undertheorized in the historiography about Jamaica’s transition from a colony to an independent nation. Folk culture, economic dependency, and political factionalism are major themes through which scholars examine Jamaica’s challenges on the path to sovereignty. Caribbean philosophers, also, in examining normative ideas about freedom during slavery and the postcolony, have largely reduced religion to an apolitical aspect of culture. Refuge and Deliverance advances the view that religious commitments and practices are part and parcel of Jamaica’s political and economic history. Focusing on religion generates a different view of progress and social change that is not limited to the mechanisms of statecraft such as voting and formal interactions with representatives of the state. To this end, Refuge and Deliverance explores forms of political action undertaken by members of a Holiness-Pentecostal church located in Tivoli Gardens, Kingston. Established in 1996 during a period of political violence in Tivoli Gardens, the church ministers to residents, mostly women and youth. Through participant observation of services and outreach initiatives, and interviews with youth and women members of the church, this study examines the interplay between doctrine and action in a religious community situated in a milieu characterized by uncertainty. Refuge and Deliverance demonstrates that residents use their personal faith and religious values to negotiate the daily economic, social and political forces that characterize life in Tivoli Gardens. The ministry at Deliverance Tabernacle exemplify how Pentecostals build community around a set of ethical expectations. Their methods, however imperfect and contradictory at times, create a value system and alternate space of belonging that provides hope and encourages practices that are necessary, if not sufficient, for systemic social change.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Religion

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