This book offers a case study in social memory that also opens onto the articulation between sacred and profane time. Through the case of reggae music, it looks at the construction, transmission and use of collective memory, and therefore at the symbolic space occupied by the idea of a historical discontinuity, within a specific context that includes a difficult past, characterised by forced uprooting and the experience of slavery. Reggae music claims a role of transmission and articulates the question of collective identity in relation to the construction of the African diaspora. The terms history and memory have here a specific meaning, situated within the Durkheimian framework, in particular in the work of Maurice Halbwachs, who distinguishes between collective memory and what he calls historical memory or history. Religion, just like music, ‘makes sense’ for individuals as well as for groups. The book discusses how the Rastafari movement builds a religious future and articulates the three temporal tenses – past, present and future – within an apocalyptic conception of history.
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