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Time and Memory in Reggae MusicThe Politics of Hope$
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Sarah Daynes

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719076213

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719076213.001.0001

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Rhetoric of oppression and social critique

Rhetoric of oppression and social critique

Chapter:
(p.191) 11 Rhetoric of oppression and social critique
Source:
Time and Memory in Reggae Music
Author(s):

Sarah Dayens

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719076213.003.0012

The message contained in reggae music is above all a message of denunciation: the point is to show what is really happening, based on the fundamental distinction made by Rastafari between Good and Evil, between Zion and Babylon. Within a world viewed as a permanent struggle, reggae music develops a social critique and a denunciation of oppression. Reggae is therefore a music of resistance, based on a rhetoric of oppression that defines the terms which govern a worldview, and is rooted in the daily reality of the lives of poor people in Jamaica. Reggae music argues that poverty is neither a shameful condition nor in the order of things, but rather is only the consequence of the corruption of an elite that maintains a society based on exploitation, which therefore could be changed. Rastafari can be considered as a strong critique of consumer society and, more generally, capitalism. The rhetoric of oppression developed by reggae music articulates a fundamental opposition between the oppressors and the oppressed (based on the essential distinction of Babylon/Evil and Zion/Good), and the notion of hope.

Keywords:   reggae, Rastafari movement, oppression, social critique, Jamaica, hope, poverty, resistance, capitalism, poor people

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