SEPTEMBER- DECEMBER 1985
Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
1 Dependency and Responsibility: A View from West Indians in Costa Rica
Trevor W. Purcell
16 Elementary School Teachers and Politics in Colonial Jamaica: The Formation of
the Jamaica Union of Teachers, 1894
Harold D. Goulbourne
31 Jamaican Public Opinion and the University of the West Indies
41 Scientific Literacy Its Meaning and Its Importance for Jamaica
52 REVIEW ARTICLES
James L. Watson (ed), Between Two Cultures Migrants and
Minorities in Britain
Joseph O. Palacio
60 The Pan-African Intelligentsia in West Africa and the Caribbean
Najmul A bedin
66 Grenada 1983
Notes on Contributors
Instructions to Authors
VOL. 31 NOS 3 & 4
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
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This double issue of Caribbean Quarterly begins with an article which places dependency
on its head. In Dependency and Responsibility: A View from West Indians in Costa Rica,
Trevor Purcell argues that the response of 'victims' to 'exploiters' must not only be cast
in terms of resistance or dependency, thereby reducing individuals and individual action
to insignificance instead of 'exercising their prerogatives of freedom, privilege, dominance
and submission', to quote R. T. Smith. By refusing to attribute all responsibility to struc-
tural relations only, Dr Purcell assigns importance to 'local, individual strategies and
choices'. This article examines how a group of expatriate Jamaicans operated since 1870
within the Costa Rican milieu in relation to the social organization, the productive system
language, food and marital choices and in the context of a plantation economy.
The author of Elementary School Teachers and Politics in Colonial Jamaica: The
Formation of the Jamaica Union of Teachers, 1894, Harold D. Goulbourne. probes the
circumstances of the 'awakening of the latent interest of elementary school teachers in
the early 1890s which was very much a part of the general development of trade unionism
in the craft industries' at the time. The JUT was formed because there was (i) no national
platform for airing teachers' views: (ii) a vigorous debate in the country on education
which ensued after the publication of the Report of the Education Commission in 1886
and with the passing of the Elementary and Secondary Laws of 1892, which had made the
teachers acutely aware of their weakness as an occupational group; (iii) and, surprisingly,
the holding of the Jamaica Exhibition in Kingston 1891 which impressed many legislators
and planters, churchmen and teachers, that there were great advantages to be gained from
technical and agricultural education. All in all, the formation of the JUT'was a salutary
development'from the point of view of the government since the teachers' interests were
also represented to the government.
Carl Stone's The Jamaican Public and the University of the West Indies represents
an update of an earlier study carried out in 1982. This survey records 'some significant
strengthening of the University's image (both internal and external)' although a disturbing
trend continues in that 'the more affluent and better educated [Jamaicans] still seek edu-
cation overseas'. UWI Graduate "managers" have, however, been lated highly by their
employing companies and organizations.
Joyce Glasgow in Scientific Literacy Its Meaning and its Importance for Jamaica
explores the meaning of scientific literacy and the implications of science for functional
literacy. These features in the Jamaican context which underline the need for increased
scientific literacy in the populace are considered in the article, both at the national and at
the level of the educational system.
Two poems, Rachel Manley'sGrenada 1983 and Tony Kellman's Beached, complete
DEPENDENCY AND RESPONSIBILITY:
A VIEW FROM WEST INDIANS IN COSTA RICA
TREVOR W. PURCELL
From the publication of Eric William's Capitalism and Slavery to the rise of plantation,
dependency and world system theories, the Caribbean has been consistently, and correct-
ly, portrayed as existing in a relationship of dependency vis-a-vis the "developed" world.'
Throughout the Caribbean region, social scientists examine social and political con-
flicts as well as economic malaise with a heavy emphasis'on this relationship of depen-
dency. With few exceptions, some of which I mention below, they view these social ills
primarily as determinate, unidirectional products of the structure of dependency. The
response of people at the local level depending on their class position is viewed in
terms of either resistance to dependency, in which case there is approbation, or in terms
of co-operating with dependency in which case they are categorized as exploiters or as
victims of false consciousness. Furthermore, the actions of individuals are inadvertently
reduced to insignificance by the underlying assumption that international and national
structural pressures negate choices.
Plantation dependency theory has afforded us invaluable insights into the unequal
relationship between the underdeveloped and the developed countries. Yet, it has some-
how led us astray from the theoretically important recognition that, as R. T. Smith puts
the present day system is being maintained, being
reproduced every day. by the actions of independent
West Indians exercising their prerogatives of freedom,
privilege, dominance and submission.2
In other words, little attention is paid to the role of local knowledge and local social
action, except where local knowledge is viewed as a product of hegemony. It is as if
plantation dependency imposed a curse on a segment of humanity to be the historical
puppets of the 20th century.
The danger of slighting local knowledge, social action and the strategies they
involve lies in the fact that as social scientific theories increasingly influence policy deci-
sions. politicians, benignly misled by some social scientists-cum-advisors, blame nefarious
outside forces for local problems without a balanced consideration of local responsibility.
The social scientist unwittingly becomes the enabler for the politician even the local
bourgeoisie who wants to be absolved of responsibility. Solutions to the problems of
the region are therefore premised disproportionately on historical and current external
"objective" structural pressures.
It is an ironic, if benign, contradiction that a theoretical outlook so evidently in-
formed by Marxian philosophy should posit man as the creator of his own history yet
attribute to only certain sectors of society the dominant the responsibility that
defines the human condition. This essay takes the position that while there is agreement
that the nature of the relationship between metropolitan countries and dependent nations
is responsible for aspects of the form and content of social action, if we view man as an
active agent of history that is, not ruled by absolute necessity then we cannot attri-
bute responsibility to structural relations only. Local, individual strategies and choices
are also important. The slave had no choice about his enslavement but he had a choice,
within the structural confines of slavery, as to whether he would collaborate with or help
to destroy slavery.
Understandably, plantation dependency theorists have been mainly but not exclu-
sively economists and political scientists, scholars who traditionally pay less attention to
cultural minutiae than do anthropologists. Understandably also. their work has influenced
that of many anthropologists and sociologists.3
In contrast to the "inward" looking, largely functionalist perspective that charac-
terized Caribbean social science through the 1950s and 1960s, the 1970s saw the matura-
tion of plantation dependency treated in the Anglophone Caribbean by such scholars as
Lloyd Best. George Beckford, Levitt and Best, Norman Girvan and Susan Craig.4 Metho-
dological differences among theorists abound, but the general thesis is that the societies
of the region are systematically underdeveloped and that this underdevelopment results
from, on the one hand, the nature of the relationship historically established between
metropolitan countries and local economies and, on the other hand, the "institutional
environment" of the local society.5 The local economy is referred to conceptually as a
"plantation economy,,, with the theoretical implication that the economic emphasis is
on local production by foreign investors for foreign consumption. The logic of foreign
investment and export production causes resources to be drained from the local society
and at the same time stagnates peasant production and inhibits genuine independence.
Ultimately this type of structural relationship generates a culture of dependency.6
Even if dependency theory is dead, as some would argue.7 the attitude lives on.
And the explanatory value of this thesis for Caribbean reality is indisputable. Yet the
emphasis is on unilateral structural determinism and this leaves little room for "micro-
processes which inhere within the dependency economy"8 and which might expose more
lucidly the nature of local participation in the process of class formation and domination.
The importance of paying attention to local "initiative and local response" was emphati-
cally made by the anthropologist Sidney Mintz in his critique of world system theory.9
The economists George Beckford and Michael Witter have also given ample attention to
specific local class forces in their class analysis of Jamaican society.10 More recently
another anthropologist. Diane Austin writing about the Caribbean in general and about
Kingston in particular, touched on the local dynamic of dependency in discussing ihe
role of education in class domination.' Perhaps of a more direct relevance to my argu-
ment regarding local choices. however, is Charles Carnegie's recent work on "strategic
Flexibility" (i.e. choice) among Caribbean migrant traders, and Rex Nettleford's moor
philosophical appeal for a home-grown "Caribbean creativity".12
It is implicit in the plantation dependency outlook that the structure of domination
achieves a metasocial warrant to borrow a concept from Touraine13 through econo-
mic and ideological appropriation. This warrant seeks to create a cultural hegemony
through which local knowledge and conduct are completely determined. But the very
notion of domination as a process ultimately negates this: the dominated social
system produces social good only for some, and those who do not share in the social good
will become aware of their relative disadvantage and therefore seek to transcend domina-
tion.This is consistent with the Marxian notion of praxis or the self-production of society.
The question then becomes how dominated man negotiates his transcendence over domi-
nation: in other words, how does he exercise his responsibility14 within the limits of
The methodological challenge in this perspective is to relate microprocess to wider
structural concerns. We might begin by moving away from the dependency emphasis on
transfer of capital and focus analysis instead on the accumulation (and spread) of capital.
Analysis might then be extended to consider how the accumulation and encroachment of
capital affect the ability of workers and peasants to exercise responsible options the
essence of freedom as life strategies.
The concept of social action (i.e.. action which takes into account and is oriented
by the behaviour of others) might be helpful in examining the socio-economic settings in
which strategies are played out. I am not, however, referring to a strict Weberian concept
of social action. The concept, as it is intended to be understood here, is informed by
Habermas' critique and reformulation of the Weberian/Parsonian idea. For Weber, social
action is defined by purposive utilitarian rationality. It takes its meaning from the inten-
tion of the actor, whose use of social knowledge is for his egocentric calculations of suc-
cess and not for socially responsible action. 1 Social action, as I employ it, encompasses
but is not restricted to individual intentions of success. It is strategic (rather than instru-
mental) action, based on rational choices but involving a social group which achieves
common understanding through communicative action.16
It needs to be stressed for all the political implications contained therein that
the dependent invididual is also a responsible individual, whether his/her actions amount
to co-operation with or resistance of domination. Resistance as well as co-operation
involves individual and group conduct which, while partially determined by dependency
structures, occur as locally generated micro-processes. These micro-processes affect the
emergence of consciousness and social process in a manner that cannot be explained
purely in terms of the structure of dependency.
To illustrate the point. I draw on fieldwork conducted between 1976 and 1978
among West Indian migrants on the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica."7 These West Indians
worked for the United Fruit Company on its banana plantations -including the shipping
facilities from the 1890s until the 1940s when the plantation relocated to the Pacific
coast of Costa Rica. This transnational plantation represents a classic setting of socioeco-
nomic domination. Yet the mere ethnohistorical outline that follows shows that even
within such strict structural confines workers did exercise strategic choices. When the
plantation relocated, the workers again exercised their options in the manner in which
they adjusted to the wider Costa Rican society. The choices they made fall into three
related groups: economic opportunity choices; personal/psychological choices; and soci-
etal adjustment choices. The Costa Rican material is not unique in this regard, I use it
because of my intimacy with it.
West Indian Advancement Strategy in Puerto Limon
West Indians started arriving in Limon in the 1870s and by the 1940s most saw
their fate as inextricably linked to their only employer, the United Fruit Company. But
the 1940s saw a radical transformation in the organization of the productive system of
the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica. which in turn brought on changes in the structure of
domination of labour. To understand the relationship between the productive system, on
the one hand.and the type of structural constraints imposed on workers, on the other, we
need to take a brief look at the type of social organization that emerged out of the plan-
tation setting. It is the social organization which sets limits on responsible choices.
The nature of the plantation, and therefore its social organization, depend on the
type and scale of the productive forces and the way in which they are combined and
controlled. In this instance, land was granted by the government: the importation of
labour was made possible by the relaxation of restrictions regarding the immigration of
non-Whites.18 and the government provided the necessary politico-legal sanctions to facili-
tate the maintenance of a disciplined labour force and the distribution of surplus accord-
ing to the wishes of the United Fruit Company. West Indians were therefore in a racist
society whose government collaborated in their exploitation.
There are three factors of immediate importance which influence class as well as
interpersonal relations in such a setting: 1) the organization of the productive forces;
2) the relationship among ethnic groups. viewed as a function of the organization of
labour; and 3) the role of certain distinctive cultural symbols in the interaction (or non-
interaction) of people within the context of the plantation, and in the type of social
hierarchy which resulted. All of these factors influence individual strategy and choice. I
will focus on the second and third factors.
The plantation, being a capitalistic labour-intensive enterprise, as Sidney Mintz
argues elsewhere,19 sought to maximize its surplus through, among other things, the
manipulation of cultural distinctions such as language and racial attitudes. This set the
conditions for Antillian labourers to manipulate cultural distinctions in the competition
for positions which later developed between them and Hispanics. Culture, colour and
values therefore became important elements in the organization of the productive forces
and reflected themselves in the social hierarchy and its concomitant pressures (more on
The plantation was a closed system for West Indians: they were constrained by the
government from seeking employment elsewhere in the country. Thus they were at the
mercy of conditions on the plantation itself,20 conditions involving menial wages, an
exploitative monopoly company store, and an authority system policed by the company.
As would be expected, the entire plantation system, occupying almost the whole
province of Limon. was tightly hierarchical, socially as well as geographically. Anglo-
Whites occupied an exclusive, well-delineated area called The Zone. Non-Whites, except
for domestic workers or those on special errands, were forbidden to enter that area. In
addition, the administrative centre, Puerto Limon, was perceived as being at the apex of a
hierarchy of population centres. This social and geographic structure implanted itself on
the consciousness of the workers, coercing them to make competitive choices based on
self-improvement within the imposed hierarchy. The structure therefore constituted an
effective means of economic and social control for the United Fruit Company.
Charles Kepner. who studied the plantation in the late 1920s. noted that the com-
pany played one ethnic group off against another.21 Hispanic workers, though of the
same structural level as Blacks, were separated from Blacks as a matter of policy. They
paid Antillians more than Hispanics for similar jobs. Some West Indian nationals were used
to break strikes initiated by other West Indians. They discouraged Blacks from learning
Spanish, claiming that they would become too powerful. They used one group to spy on
the other, and they had a policy of not placing Costa Rican nationals in high positions -
"because of their divided allegiance" in disputes with the national government.22 There
was therefore on obvious policy of divide and rule in which workers participated as
will soon become clearer.
Within the central administrative structure, colour gradations reflected the occu-
pational hierarchy. Positions such as accountants, clerks, timekeepers and foremen were
held mostly by Coloured Jamaicans. The higher, more strategic positions were held by
Whites who, of course, presented a unified image a clear line of class opposition vis-a-vis
Blacks and Hispanics. The social organization was de facto "apartheid".
Obviously, any bid for mobility meant that the White controlling factor had to be
placated; and those Blacks and Coloureds in positions of authority made certain of that
in order to exercise their own sense of authority and to secure their own, precarious
positions. A Black foreman, for example, would hardly risk the privilege of having a
company mule. Upper-level Blacks had to be placated also, for access to Coloured fore-
men and White overseers had to be negotiated with them. They were in a socially and
economically strategic position.
For instance, for two years Charles Morgan was the "clean-up' after the mechanics
in the maintenance shop in Puerto Limon. He wanted to be an apprentice but he had no
one "to speak for him". He had to prove himself. With a smiling willingness he did exactly
as he was told and more, never less. After about a year the Coloured foreman "took a
liking to him" and began to "learn him a t'ing or two about the machines". In his own
words he "was not like those vagabonds -want something for nothing. No sir". In his
frequent admonition the foreman mentioned names of co-workers who "could not get
anywhere because they don't have ambition".23 Charles Morgan obeyed orders, and "did
little extra errands for the foreman and Mr Williams", the White supervisor who was "a
good man and he appreciate the Queen English". After about nine years on the job
Charles Morgan was heading his own field maintenance crew. He was a model of success.
Whether in the field or in the shop. for most West Indians, acceptability and a com-
pliant attitude were important attributes to getting ahead. It was a setting in which capi-
talist individualism was nourished, balanced only by the fact that the racial segregation of
social life forced Blacks to unite around their own social and cultural institutions -
religious, educational, recreational within which the traditional spirit of communalism
In spite of the structural equality between Blacks and Hispanics, given the hierar-
chical frame of reference within which consciousness developed, it seemed predictable
that Blacks would jostle with Hispanics for favoured status. Blacks saw themselves as
superior, using whatever cultural and historical factors they could to support their conten-
tion. They regarded Hispanics as inferior for a number of reasons, the most salient of
which was the fact that most Blacks, being largely of British West Indian provenance,
accepted the colonial British ideology of cultural and national superiority. Their self-
definition relied heavily on assimilated British values, and therefore anyone who did not
share this identity was regarded as inferior. Furthermore, and most important the
majority of West Indians, unlike Costa Ricans, spoke a common language with their
employers. This, and the fact that they had seniority -it was they who braved the
elements to colonize the area when the "Hispanics were dying like flies" gave them pre-
Hispanic labourers also had their stereotypes of Blacks; they were regarded as bois-
terous drunkards, irresponsible and simple. But the data indicate that by the early 1930s
they were more willing to join West Indian labourers as a class than most West Indians
were willing to join them.
In general, West Indians saw themselves as a privileged people in the middle of a
three-tiered ethnic hierarchy with Anglo-Americans at the top and Hispanics at the
bottom. Moreover, they perceived Americans as their socio-economic superiors but their
cultural equals. In fact, several authors have observed that West Indians "passively co-
operated" and identified with their Anglo employers.24 However, this is only part of the
picture. There were several instances as in Moin and other areas of Limon in 1887 of
militant work stoppages by Blacks. Yet in 1934 when Hispanic labour struck against
banana growers, most Blacks refused to support the strike, choosing to take an ethnic
rather than class position.
As individuals, Blacks stood for themselves (in the interest of advancement), but
more than that, it was the "ambitious" against the "unambitious". As a group, they stood
against Hispanics and at times against the company. In both instances their actions consti-
tuted conscious, responsible choices, given the nature of the social system. Some, certainly
not all. may have had no choice but the United Fruit Company jobs. but their behaviour
need not have conformed to company expectations. To be mobile, they had to push
against constraints but how they pushed made a difference. Clearly. however, the alliance
with their American employers and their prejudice against Hispanics had more to do with
socio-economic strategy than with racial or cultural considerations. They were simply
invoking "cultural superiority", on the one hand as self-definitionand on the other hand
as a means of achieving economic stability and upward mobility.
Once again, to borrow the words of Gilberto Freyre. the Black man had become
"the white man's greatest and most plastic collaborator in the task of agrarian coloniza-
tion". But while most chose to exercise their options within the confines of the planta-
tion others sought independence from it. A small but significant number ventured into
peasant cultivation: some squatted on State land or company land while others used land
given them by the company as partial compensation for unremunerated work. The case
of Mr Thomas, a successful independent farmer on the southern coast, is illustrative. His
father arrived in Costa Rica in the 1930s and worked for the United Fruit Company for
about two years. While working he squatted on State land and planted banana. Later he
switched to cacao and acquired rights to more land. In the meantime he had two sons,
who he insisted should "get a profession". One son, Mr Thomas, became a plumber and
the other a cobbler. The latter migrated to the Panama zone, while Mr Thomas eventually
took over his father's farm which had expanded to over 200 hectares by the 1970s. His
father, he said, always told them to avoid "working out".
In some cases whole villages sprang up around peasant cultivation. Still there were
other individuals who straddled the line between plantation proletariat and peasantry.25
A few became fishermen and, of course, there were the teachers, independent tradesmen,
a few small-scale traders, and even fewer medium to large-scale farmers. The choices were
few, but occupational multiplicity was nevertheless a reality.
Transformation of the productive system
Labour conflicts, banana diseases, and further land concessions conspired to trans-
form the economic structure of the region, culminating in the relocation of the United
Fruit Company to the Pacific coast beginning in the early 1940s.
With the relocation of the Company. competition in Limon tightened. At the same
time that banana production was decreasing, the number of Hispanics in the region was
increasing. They started arriving in the 1920s, by 1927 there were over 13,000 Hispanics
on the Atlantic coast, and by 1928 approximately 45 per cent of the railroad employees
were of Hispanic extraction.26
Political (though not economic) control of the region by Hispanic Costa Ricans
crystalized after 1948. the year in which Jose Figueres, the father of Costa Rican social
democracy, seized power. Many Blacks fought under the Figueres banner and consequent-
ly, it seems, a concerted effort was made to facilitate their political integration into the
wider society. With political integration Blacks came fully under Hispanic control, with
gains in some areas of social life but with increasing economic disfranchisement and
displacement in others.
In effect, the transnational United Fruit Company released control of the region
and its people to the state. The process was accompanied by significant demographic
changes and, in effect, Limon which was a closed community under the plantation regime
became incorporated into the wider society, but at the lower level.
The changes in the productive system and political control of the region set in
motion a process of assimilation of Blacks into Hispanic culture. West Indians were no
longer a preferred group. Indeed. many Hispanics resented their presence: the mid-1930s
was punctuated by protests against the preference accorded West Indians. Now West
Indians found that their livelihood depended almost entirely on the goodwill of the very
ethnic group they previously relegated to socio-cultural inferiority. At this point, a new
economic dependence now forced Blacks to change their system of social evaluation in
order to fit the new hierarchy in which Hispanics were now on top.
Instead of merely adjusting to economic demands many, though not all, West
Indians made an about turn in their cultural values and national allegiance. Their use of
language is a telling example: they not only learned Spanish, they made it their prestige
language. By the 1970s many third-generation immigrant West Indians were embarrassed
to speak English partly because they could speak "standard" Spanish but only Creole
English, of which they were ashamed. An interviewee told me: "El Espanol es mas
decent" (Spanish is more decent). Others say they speak it because es lo que domina (it
is the dominant language). In spite of such attitudes, English maintains a modicum of
prestige among many.
As signatures of prestige and privilege, language and colour work hand in hand but
not without some ambiguity. In 1978 a British volunteer teaching primarily Black kinder-
garten students in Limon found that they spoke to her in Spanish only. The reason was
later revealed when a four-year-old said: "A Diana le quiero, porque aungue es blanca es
negra porque hable ingles" (1 like Diana because, although she is White, she is really
Black for she speaks English).27 In other instances, children more clearly express the level
of assimilation and re-evaluation since they are less self-conscious and less aware of the
cultural and ideological strictures on such expressions. A nine-year-old daughter tells her
divorced mother that she wants another father, but this time not a Black one.
Cuisine and clothing have both gone the way of language also. The guayavera
(native Costa Rican dress shirt) has replaced the shirt and tie as semi-formal wear, and
arroz con polio threatens the continued attractiveness of the Jamaican rice-and-peas. A
four-year-old forced by her mother to visit and eat with her grandmother responded in dis-
gust: "Vamos a abuela a comer comida negra; que pereza"(We are going to grandmother's
to eat negro food; what a bore!).
The transformation in the valuation of culture and colour found expression in
marriage patterns also. Over the decades, separation of Blacks and Hispanics in terms of
cultural hierarchy preserved ethnic endogamy. In recent years, however, there has been a
partial reversal of this tendency: of 218 households sampled, 6.5 per cent of all unions
were racially mixed, and 45.2 per cent of all respondents expressed a positive disposition
regarding interracial unions. A few Black women now expressed the desire for Hispanics
to father their children so that they may have piel claro (clear skin) -a clear asset in
social mobility. This is not to indicate that all such unions are utilitarian; my field notes
show several cases of unions established on moral grounds. Even so, the importance of
colour and culture for social advancement is neither lost on the members of moral unions
nor on the interpreting public.
West Indians have been shifting their national allegiance also. First generation immi-
grants still feel linked to the West Indies, particularly to Jamaica, but second-, third- and
fourth-generations find it convenient to view themselves as Costa Rican nationals. In the
village of Cahuita, a heated debate between a Jamaican visitor and three Afro-Costa;
Rican males regarding the relative merits of identifying with Costa Rica rather than
Jamaica soon, with the aid of a few beers, developed into a cruel bout of fisticuffs. Not all
Afro-Costa Ricans would physically defend the country against an opinionated Jamaican,
but "this is our country," some say, and "it is the freest country in the world." Under-
standably so: regardless of racial discrimination, Costa Rica promised and in some cases
even provided opportunities for West Indian migrants which their homeland had failed to
provide. Yer"in1962 they celebrated Jamaica's independence. But expressions of allegiance
to Costa Rica, particularly by the young, are choices based less on appreciation for his-
tory than on the understanding the basis of social action that social and political
participation is a prerequisite for acceptance and advancement.
In the face of rampant but often subtle racial discrimination, many upwardly mobile
West Indians, under the influence of the democratic socialist ideology as well as personal
success, vehemently deny its existence. The tendency among them is to assume that there
is graded acceptance for Blacks according to their closeness to Hispanic Costa Rican ideals.
The situation is somewhat similar to that of Blacks in Brazil28 and pre-revolutionary
Cuba29 where the ideology of racial democracy gained strong currency. A successful
Black farmer in Limon said: "If you carry yourself like a decent person and respect the
Spanish you can reach anywhere in this country."
It was not until 1978 the same year Black nationalism raised its touchy head in
Brazil when a group of middle-class Blacks organized a national conference on racial
discrimination that the issue became, in a limited way, part of the national discourse.
West Indians, then, in the interest of smooth self-advancement, accommodated them-
selves to Hispanic Costa Rican hegemony; a hegemony legitimized by the opening up of
opportunities in the various state-run administrative and service institutions, as well as by
the ideological proclamation of equal opportunity.
The early stage of the transformation, however, found many West Indians shifting
to peasant cultivation as opposed to wage labour; as with their earlier counterparts they
occupied State land, or rented or leased parcels of United Fruit Company farms. But
within a generation, they "sold" the rights to many of these farms to Hispanics -in some
cases Hispanics wrested the rights from Blacks through devious means as Blacks moved
to urban areas and their children opted for opportunities as teachers, clerks, and skilled as
well as unskilled wage labour. Of 218 heads-of-households surveyed in 1978, 78 per cent
gave white collar occupations, instead of working on the land, as the preferred means of
advancement for their children. This process became endemic throughout the province,
draining needed labour from the land.
It is not that Blacks believe they can no longer live by the land: they simply feel
that advancement, in accordance with the standards set by the society at large, is more
probable through the urban and professional labour market. It is not that Blacks spurn
their traditional culture: they simply wager that under the new circumstances being cul-
trually conservative is a potential obstacle to acceptance. When in the mid-1970s, for
instance, a few nationalist Blacks attempted to have Creole English included in the Limon
public school curriculum, one of the more effective arguments posed by Black parents
against it was that they wanted their children educated "not just for Limon but for the
world." This attitude speaks eloquently not just to the nature of the Limon community
but to that of the diaspora in general. Witness the importance of migration in strategies of
upward mobility:30 there are perhaps more West Indians in the United States. Great
Britain and Canada than there are in the West Indies. For too long. however, we have
viewed such strategies as structural necessities, relegating the element of responsible, con-
scious choice to theoretical insignificance.
In a capitalist system accumulation is achieved by bringing together properly-less
workers and commodities through the medium of money. The process limits options to
workers since it controls their life chances. But options are not eliminated. In the follow-
ing chart I schematize the options exercised by the West Indians I have been describing.
set against the constraints imposed by the United Fruit Company, on the one hand, and
the society, on the other.
OPTIONS AND CONSTRAINTS
TYPES CHOICES ALTERNATIVES CONSTRAINTS
Economic Wage labour (skilled Peasant cultivation or Company and Stale reduces
opportunity and unskilled) other independent options by keeping wages
options activity low, restricting access to
land. and providing minimal
Dual adjustment: wage
labour and peasant
Pursue upward Remain static Upward mobility in coin-
mobility pany and in society restric-
ted by racial/cultural barriers
Interpersonal/ Compliant/docile Rebellious/unyielding Company and society set
political standards ol behaviour
options Detached Collaborative
Low\level of material
Highlevel of material
Dominant classes in society
impose standards !or cul-
tural and social acceptability
Standard of consumption
imposed from outside
Inherent Ambiguity: Structural Necessity, Consciousness and Choice
The switch in West Indians' evaluation of Hispanic culture and society in response
to the structural changes following the relocation of the United Fruit Company is a clear
indication that they were devising strategies of adjustment based on their acquired know-
ledge of what the system had to offer and the pathways of achieving it. Although I have
concentrated on the broad outline of historical transformation, these were individual
responses to structural demands: but they had some structural causes as well as some
structural effects. In a similar manner that .n idea is an individual transformation of
social/cultural circumstances, the emergent social structure is a transformation of indi-
vidual strategies, given collective coherence by common understanding of structural pres-
sures. There is, therefore, a dialectical interaction between individual pragmatic choices
regarding strategies and structural demands -whether it be class or international relations
of dependency. The apparent contradiction between structural determinism and individual
responsibility is only that, apparent. It speaks to the inherently ambiguous nature of class
forces: for dominance to perpetuate itself it must tolerate some degree of freedom, mini-
mal though it may be.
In both instances of adjustment discussed earlier, that is, to the plantation hierar-
chy as well as to the post-plantation Hispanic-dominated society, the strategies employed
by Blacks were choices within structural constraints -- not structural necessities. In like
manner, the slaves who fled the plantations at Emancipation for a peasant existence in the
hills of Jamaica were expressing a responsible choice, as was the Manley government in
deciding to go against mainstream wisdom and withdraw from the International Monetary
Fund in 1980. In Limon. people chose whatever means their environment and their
subjective being afforded to achieve social advancement. The choice was informed and
constrained by a particular philosophy of the "desirable" life but options were at
the same time expanded in accordance with the world of knowledge within which choices
occurred. In today's world, for example, consumerism and possessive individualism be-
come motives which shape conduct, but frugal self-sacrifice remain an option.
A while back, anthropologist Steve Barnett conducted a study of "identity choice
and caste ideology" in contemporary South India, in which he noted that what is in-
volved in establishing identity is a struggle to be excluded or included in various spheres
of symbolic dominance, emphasizing sub-ideologies while making use of indeterminacy in
defining one's position in or out of particular groups.3' In like manner, West Indians
engaged in value transaction as a means of elevating their social position and at the same
time mitigating domination. But many did it in a manner defined by the dominant social
sectors, and by so doing their actions became constitutive of the very constraints they
tried as individuals to avoid.
This is often, and only too easily, attributed to false consciousness. But such expla-
nations only create a dilemma, for on the one hand the individual's action is said to be
structurally determined and he or she is therefore absolved of responsibility. On the other
hand, the individual's consciousness is said to be false, which raises questions about the
truth content of consciousness generated by structure and, more specifically, about the
extent to which knowledge is determined by practice.
There is a sense in which consciousness may be false: it is associated with the
development of ideology, arising in Marx's view out of primitive division of labour and
maturing "when a division of material and mental labour appears".32 Whether or not we
accept the origin, we can agree that ideology is a function of the ability of consciousness
to partially emancipate itself from practice, and therefore able to retract and distort
existing social relations.33 Seen in this light, the ruling class is also burdened with ideo-
logy (consciousness which is not united with practice), yet its consciousness is not said to
be false. Understandably so. since it uses.ideology to its benefit at the expense of the
working class which, without true class consciousness of itself as a class, shares the ideo-
logy what Antonio Gramsci calls "theoretical consciousness" of their oppressors. For
the dominated class, then, consciousness is "false" not by. virtue of being tainted by
ideology but because it fails to apprehend its true interest or need.
On the one hand, to label the worker with false consciousness is to deny his sui
generis consciousness. On the other hand, to expect him to fully and independently pene-
trate the ideology imposed from above that is, to transcend hegemonic propaganda -
is to require a breadth of social structural knowledge and an encompassing philosophy of
praxis that even the social scientist finds difficult. In short, theories based on dependency
have yet to decide exactly where the human being, the responsible agent of history, fits
into the determinate structure of domination. Has he achieved a critical understanding of
self and society, or is he being duped by domination? Or is the reality somewhere in-
Social man is conscious, responsible man; responsible in the sense that he is self-
creative, and conscious in the sense that through his awareness and manipulation of the
constraints in his environment, he achieves some domination over himself. By "acting on
the external world and changing it," says Marx, "[man] changes at the same time his own
nature. He develops potentialities that slumber within him and subjects these inner forces
to his own control".34 Obviously, Caribbean man, by reason of being the object of a
history of domination, has not achieved full domination over self. But recogintion of his
responsible role is the first step in that historical process.
A more productive way of explaining the co-operation of individuals with domina-
tion, or their susceptibility to hegemony, is to hold individual responsibility as a human
constant and look at the constraints or power relations within which social action occurs.
The process of making social action choices I call "transaction" to borrow a concept
from the anthropologist Frederick Barth meaning a process of evaluation taking into
consideration the constraints and incentives that canalize choices in interpersonal rela-
tions.35 Adoption of the notion of transaction as an analytic tool allows us to view
domination as process as well as structure.
In the case of West Indians, I attribute the historical foundation of transaction in
social action to two processes combining material, cultural and psychological factors
- of colonialism: (1) the removal of viable economic and social alternatives from im-
ported slave labour, that is, complete deprivation evolving later into relative deprivation;
and (2) the redefinition of the social world of African peoples and their descendants, that
is, the gradual imposition of a worldview, inconsistent with the African-derived world-
view, but providing an explanation of how deprivation may be relieved. In this sense,
then, culture became a force of production; accepting the dominant culture and values
was and continues to be the first step toward shaking deprivation, which in turn means
reproducing the exploitative relations of production. To culturally redefine the relations
of production as, for instance, Rastafarians in Jamaica have attempted to do, is to be
subversive in the most profound sense.
Fianlly, even if we agree, as we must, with plantation dependency theorists that the
relations of domination do constrain choices, we should also agree that dependent man
still maintains individual responsibility and consciousness whether or not his actions
support domination or subvert it. This is the assumption on which we must act to achieve
real independence in the Caribbean.It would be too simple to say, for example, that those
West Indians who refused to join the Hispanic challenge to the United Fruit Company in
the 1934 strike were misled, while those who did were conscious of themselves as a class
against their oppressors. Nor can these actions be reduced to ideological domination.
These actions can only be explained in terms of the interaction between the historical
constitution of consciousness and material relations within a system of social action
intended to avoid domination.
1. In view of the strong similarities between dependency theory, world system theory and what dev-
eloped in the Caribbean as the plantation economy theory, I use plantation dependency to refer
to the general theoretical outlook. There are important differences in these positions but they are
not crucial to my argument.
2. Raymond T. Smith, "Family, Social Change and Social Policy in the West Indies". Nieuwe West -
Indische Gids 56 (1982). p. 137.
3. Paget Henry. "Decolonization and Cultural Underdcvelopment in the Commonwealth Caribbean".
In The Newer Caribbean: Decolonization, Democracy and Development. Paget Henry and Carl
Stone, eds.. pp 95-120. Inter American Politics Series, Vol. 4 (Philadelphia: ISHI Publications
1983). Peter Wilson, Crab Antics: The Social Anthropology of English-Speaking Negro Societies in
the Caribbean (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973). Marilyn Silverman. "Dependency, Media-
tion and Class Formation in Rural Guyana". American Ethnologist 6 (1979).
4. Lloyd Best, "Outlines of a Model of Pure Plantation 1-conomy". Social and Economic Studies
17 (1968): 288 99. George Beckford and Michael Witter, Small Garden ... Bitter Weed: The Pol-
itical Economy of Struggle and Change in Jamaica (Morant Bay, Jamaica: Maroon Publishing Hous-
es, 1980). George Becklord, Persistent Poverty: Underdevelopment in Plantation Economies of the
Third World (New York: Oxford University Press. 1972). Caribbean Economy, (Mona, Jamaica:
Institute of Social and Economic Research. 1975). K. Levitt and L. Best, "Character of Caribbean
Economy". In Caribbean Economy, G. L. Beckford, ed., pp. 34-60. (Mona, Jamaica: Institute of
Social and Iconomic Research. 1975). Norman Girvan. "The Development of Dependency Econ-
omics in the Caribbean and Latin America: Review and Comparison". Social and Economic Studies
22 (1973): 1-33. Susan Craig, "Introduction" and Chapter 22. In Contemporary Caribbean: A
Sociological Reader, Vol. 2. Susan Craig. ed. (Published by Susan Craig, The College Press, Trini-
dad and Tobago, 1982).
5. Beck ford 1972, pp. xvii \\vii.
6. Cf. Henry 1983
7. Ronald H. Chilcote (ed.), "Dependency and Mar\ism: Toward a Resolution of the Debate".
Latin American Perspectives Series. No. 1 (Boulder. Colorado: Weslview Press. 1981).
8. Silverman 1979. pp. 466 67.
9. Sidney Mintz, "The So-Called World System: Local Initiative and Local Response". Dialectical
Anthropology 2 (1977): pp. 253 70.
10. Beckford and Witter 1980.
11. Diane J. Austin, "Culture and Ideology in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A View from Jamaica".
American Ethnologist 19 (1983), pp. 223-40 and Urban Life in Kingston Jamaica; The Culture
and Class Ideology of Two Neighborhoods (New York: Gordon Breach, 1984).
12. Charles Carnegie, "Strategic Flexibility in the Caribbean: A Social Psychology of Caribbean Migra-
tions". Caribbean Review XI (1982, 1): 10-13. Rex Nettlelord, "Definition and Development:
The Need for Caribbean Creativity." Caribbean Review XIV (1985, 3): 7-10.
13. Alain Touraine, The Self-Production of Society. Translated by Derek Coltman (Chicago: The Uni-
versity of Chicago Press, 1977).
14. Responsibility presupposes freedom or liberty, and freedom is simply understood as the power of
selecting any of two or more alternatives. This understanding of freedom, however, precludes
determinism, for it assumes that one can select any of all alternatives. A second and more accept-
able view of freedom is simply: doing what one wishes. (This is the view accepted long ago by
David Hume.) One may realize one's wishes even in the face of constraints, and even if the wish
were determined by a set of causes. Freedom is contrasted with constraint and is not necessarily
opposed to the idea of necessity.
15. Max Weber, Economy and Society. Edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich (Berkeley: Uni-
versity of California Press, 1978), pp. 4-25.
16. Jurgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action: Vol. 1. Reason and the Rationalization
of Society. Translated by Thomas McCarthy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1984), pp. 279 86.
17. The data on which this essay is based were collected over an eighteen-month period between 1976
and 1978. The fieldwork was funded by grants from the Organization ol American States and the
18. Carlos Melendez and Quince Duncan, El Negro En Costa Rica (San Jose: Editorial Costa Rica.
19. Sidney W. Mintz. "The Plantation as a Socio-Cultural Type." In Plantation Systems of the New
World (Washington: Pan American Union Social Science Monograph. 1959).
20. Richard Biesanz, K. Z. Biesanz and M. H. Biesanz, The Costa Ricans (Englewood Cliffs, New Jer-
sey: Prentice Hall, 1982), p. 66.
21. Charles D. Kepner. Social Aspects of the Banana Empire. (New York: Columbia University Press.
1936), p. 173.
22. Kepner 1936, p. 177.
23. Among West Indians in Costa Rica, the meaning of the term "ambition" is not restricted to the lit-
eral English usage. It also means, to display a wide range of characteristics deemed to be "decent"
and to be necessary for social and moral uplift. That is. one who behaves in a manner acceptable to
one's social superiors.
24. Melendez and Duncan 1977, p. 66; Kepner 1936; Roy S. Bryce-Laporte, "Social Relations and Cul-
tural Persistence (or Change) Among Jamaicans in a Rural Area of Costa Rica." Unpublished Ph. I)
dissertation (UCLA, 1962); Michael Olien, "The Negro in Costa Rica: The Enthnohistory of an
Ethnic Minority in a Complex Society." Ph. D. dissertation (University of Oregon. 1967).
25. Trevor W. Purcell. "Conformity and Dissention: Social Inequality. Values and Mobility Among
West Indian Migrants in Limon, Costa Rica". Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation (The Johns Hopkins
University. 1982). "Modern Maroons: Economy and Cultural Survival in Jamaican Peasant Village
in Costa Rica." (MS, nd.).
26. C. W. Koch. "Jamaican Blacks and Their Descendants in Costa Rica". MS (University of Omaha.
1977), p. 10.
27. Diana Woollard. "Approaches to Language m Limon, Costa Rica: With Particular Regard to the
Teaching of English to Limon Creole Speakers. Especially at Primary Level". Unpublished Final
Exam Paper (The University of York. U.K.. 1979).
28. Marvin Harris, "Referential Ambiguity in the Calculus of Brazilian Racian Identity". In Afro-
American Anthropology: Contemporary Perspective Norman L. Whitten, Jr. and John I. Szwed.
eds., (New York: Free Press, 1970), pp. 75- 86. Anani Dzidzienyo, "The Position of Blacks in Bra-
zilian Society". In The Position of Blacks in Brazilian and Cuban Society. Anani Dzidzienyo and
Lourdes Casal, Report #7 (Minority Rights Group, London, 1979), pp. 11- 27.
29. Lourdes Casal, "Race Relations in Contemporary Cuba". In The Position of Blacks in Brazilian and
Cuban Society. Anani Dzidzicnyo and Lourdes Casal, pp. 2 11. Report #7 (Minority Rights
Group, London, 1979), p. 13.
30. Bonham C. Richardson. Caribbean Migrants: Environment and Human Survival on St. Kitts and
Nevis (University of Tennessee Press. 1983).
31. Steve Barnett, "Identity Choice and Ideology in Contemporary South India". In Symbolic Anth-
- ropology, Janet Dolgin et al., eds., (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977).
32. Karl Marx and Frederick Ingels. Selected Works. Vol. One (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977)
33. Erich Fromm, Marx's Concept of Man (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1972), pp
34. Karl Marx, 1967 quoted in Textbook of Marxist Philosophy, prepared by the Leningrad Institute
of Philosophy under the direction of M. Shirokov. (Chicago: Proletarian Publishers, 1978), p. 276.
35. Fredrik Barth. Models of Social Organization, Occasional Papers No. 23, Royal Anthropological
Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1971) pp. 1 12. I borrow Barth's concept. "transaction",
with an important modification: For him, as for me, the notion of choice within constraints is
intrinsic to the concept of transaction. I differ, however,:in my insistence that choices take place
within a set of oppressive power relations, a point Barth does not make.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS AND POLITICS
IN COLONIAL JAMAICA: THE FORMATION OF THE
JAMAICA UNION OF TEACHERS, 1894
HAROLD D. GOULBOURNE
On 30 March 1894, the Jamaica Union of Teachers (JUT) was formed with the specific
aims of uniting
together, by means of local associations, school teach-
ers throughout the island in order to provide a
machinery by which teachers may give expression to
their opinions when occasion requires, and may take
action in any matter affecting their interest.'
The new Union would seek to 'afford' the Board of Education and the Department of
Education the 'collective experience' of teachers; it would watch over the working of the
education laws and the Code of Regulations.2 With time, the Union hoped to establish
providential, benevolent and annuity funds for the 'scholaristic profession'. The JUT
would attempt to secure the adequate representation of the interests of the teaching pro-
fession in the Legislative Council and on the Board of Education.3 It would be part of the
Union's task to work for the general improvement of education in the country. In short,
the JUT would seek to represent both the 'professional' and the 'trade union' interests of
elementary school teachers in Jamaica.
This paper examines the circumstances of the awakening of the latent interests of
elementary school teachers in the early 1890s, which led to the formation of the JUT.
Although this was the first teachers' union in the region, it was very much part of the gen-
eral development of trade unionism in the craft industries in this period.4 Already by the
1890s, it must be noted, education was by far the most important and widespread
service provided by the state and,within the context of exploitation, poverty and limited
opportunities, this service supplied one of the main means for upward social mobility in
the country. It was not surprising, therefore, that members of this occupation, from an
early date, came to see their interests as particularistic and calling for protection.
The Need to Organize
The JUT was the answer to the felt needs of elementary school teachers and the
result of their own efforts. The need for an organization to promote and defend the inter-
ests of teachers showed itself clearly in the 1890s. Firstly, although education was organ-
ized on a national scale, there was no national platform, perhaps apart from newspapers,
for airing teachers' views on educational matters or for making their grievances known. To
be sure, there were a number of Educational (sometimes referred to as Teachers') Associa-
tions upon which the JUT hoped partly to build, but the trade union and wider profes-
sional interests of teachers were not being coherently articulated or represented through
these bodies. The Educational Associations, started in 1882 with the encouragement of
Colonel George Hicks, an American who settled in Jamaica after the Civil War as an
Inspector of Schools,s had set themselves very limited aims. They aimed to
promote the efficiency of the schools and advance
the interests of teachers by holding stated meetings
for essays and discussions upon educational topics
by circulating among members educational periodi-
cals and the most approved works on the art of teach-
ing, etc. and by other suitable means.6
In 1892 the Kingston Educational Association raised issues of more than purely educa-
tional importance7 but this was unusual. Trade union and professional issues could not be
raised within the narrow framework in which these Associations operated. Furthermore,
they were dominated by churchmen who had their own occupational concerns of the
fifteen Associations listed in the Handbook of Jamaica for 1894 only one had a lay presi-
dent.8 But, undoubtedly, these Associations contributed to the founding of the JUT.
They brought teachers together in centres throughout the country at regular intervals and,
although they only discussed common problems of the classroom, the regularity of their
intercourse helped to foster an occupational awareness. It is interesting to note that all
the elementary school teachers closely involved in the founding of the JUT had some
experience in their local Educational Association.9
Secondly, a vigorous debate in the country on education following a long awaited
Report of the Education Commission in 1886, and ending with the passing of the Ele-
mentary and Secondary Education Laws of 1892, made many teachers acutely aware of
their weakness as an occupational group. The Report of 1886 had recommended that the
state should subsidize teachers' housing and institute a scheme of superannuation; the
state should assume full financial responsibility for elementary education and make
attendance at school compulsory. An education tax, it was recommended, should be
collected to pay for these reforms. The Commissioners also wanted to see the state estab-
lish a central Board of Education with local ones to assist in the supervision of educa-
Thirdly, in the midst of public discussion over the Report, the Jamaica Exhibition,
encouraged by the enlightened Governor. Sir Henry Blake, was held in Kingston in 1891.
The Exhibition impressed many legislators and planters, churchmen and teachers, that
there were great advantages to be gained from technical and agricultural education.1
After 1891. therefore, a new dimension was added to the debate12 over education
reform, that is that the country needed technical and agricultural education if it was to
progress and the demand was that these subjects should be added to the school curricu-
lum alongside the traditional three Rs.13
By 1892 the agitation for reform, therefore, centred around the issues of free ele-
mentary education (by abolishing the system whereby pupils paid a weekly sum to teach-
ers and levying a special education tax). compulsory attendance at schools, the establish-
ment of boards of education and the introduction of technical and agricultural instruc-
tions in the school curriculum. After 1891, the tax issue became particularly important
when the government made it clear that it was not prepared to pay for the reforms out
of general revenue. No doubt, Blake hoped thereby to gain the support of the trouble-
some elected members of the legislature who were likely to oppose any new taxation of a
As far as school teachers were concerned, matters of particular interest to them
were gradually dropped from the debate and the subsequent Elementary Education Law
of 1892 reflected this neglect. The position of the teacher, vis-a-vis his immediate
employer, the school manager, remained unchanged, and the teacher could expect little
protection in his work. His salary continued to be dependent on his 'results' achieved
at the end of the year as determined by the inspector who would examine the pupil.
The teacher was also to remain for another two decades without a pension. Although
some teachers complained that free education without compulsion would result in a fall
in attendance and thus affect their salaries, the provisions for compulsory attendance
On the other hand, the Law strengthened the position of the churches in the edu-
cation system insofar as it fully institutionalized the old system whereby the state paid
for education whilst the churches continued to own and control the schools. The central
Board of Education16 which was established under the Law had no direct representative
of the teaching occupation whereas the various religious denominations enjoyed direct and
adequate representation. The churches, therefore, were able to exert a strong influence on
national educational policy since they were the only groups recognized by the state as
spokesmen for education. In short, the passing of the 1892 Education Laws marked a
a clear and significant victory for the churches. They succeeded in getting the state to
provide the financial support of elementary education which they could no longer afford
whilst retaining ownership and control of the schools throughout the country. The
importance of this victory was not lost on the teachers.
But the churches had to fight for this victory. The government's initial response to
the 1886 recommendations was to let the matter lapse quietly. In 1891, when the
demand for the government to take action on the recommendations was mounting, the
Privy Council advised Governor Blake in no uncertain terms, as the minutes of a meeting
in January of that year recorded:
1. That there was no necessity for legislation on the subject
2. That school fees should not be given up
3. That there was no need for the central and local boards proposed
4. That the maximum limit of age for children in government-aided schools
should be thirteen (13) with proviso that, in certain cases to be determined,
the age be extended for children who proposed to go on to secondary schools
5. That it was not desirable to offer pensions to teachers
6. That an annual grant from general revenue should be made to pay for the fees
of pauper children
7. That the education code should be so amended as to provide for the altera-
Far from wishing to take up the proposals for reform, the Privy Council wished to
advise economic stringency at a time when the financial situation of the colony was in
good condition.18 Although the Governor did not have to comply with advice of the
council, it was not always wise to oppose the unanimous feelings of its members, parti-
cularly on this issue, which at this time was mainly of interest in the colony and hardly of
any concern in Whitehall.19 In an attempt to placate the churches, the government in
April 1891 half-heartedly introduced a Bill on the question and, although it was more in
line with the advice of the privy councillors than with the recommendations of 1886, it
was defeated in the legislature and the government was all too willing to let the matter
But, in 1892 the pressure for reform began to tell, and the government steadily
changed its position. In February of that year the Governor was prepared to support a
new Bill, but not one embracing all the demands for reform.20 At the second reading
of the new Bill, which was introduced by Thomas Capper, the Superintending Inspector
of Schools, the Governor as President of the Legislative Council, took what was then an
unusual step of interrupting the proceedings to explain the feelings of the Privy Council
on the question. The council, he was reported as saying,
had adopted the bare principle that. without going
into the question of the appointment of teachers, or
interfering with their appointments, we simply had
undertaken to assist whoever establishes a school and
produces for government inspection certain results -
these results we are prepared to pay for.2
However marginally, his position on the issue had changed. During the course of the de-
bate at the second reading, Blake's attitude underwent further changes. He promised that
if the elected members of the legislature could show him that 'the people' wanted the Bill
which was being demanded, then he would be willing to seek its successful passage. To
ascertain public support, a Select Committee of the Legislative Council was set up com-
prising both official and elected members, with the latter in the majority.22 Reporting on
20 March, the Committee recommended that the government should assume financial
responsibility for elementary education and, to pay for this, a special tax (the 'education
tax' which would add 12,000 to the revenue) should be levied; a central Board of Edu-
cation, but not the local ones recommended by the 1886 Commission, should be estab-
lished. Attendance at schools should be made compulsory but, since the Committee dis-
agreed strongly on this point, it was proposed that the provisions for this should not be
implemented immediately.23 The Bill was quickly passed after its third reading on
8 April, 1892.24
It was the efforts of the churches to see the educational system reformed, and
thereby relieve themselves of the financial responsibility for education, which influenced
the government and eventually forced Blake to give way on some of the more important
recommendations of the 1886 Commission. Between 1891 and 1892 the denominations
made repeated representations to Blake on the issue. Blake admitted to the emergency
session of the Legislative Council (called to consider the effects of the McKinley Tariff on
Jamaican sugar in the US market), that:
The question of education has been under my con-
sideration, and I have had the advantage of having the
views of an influential body of gentlemen interested
in the subject.25
The final Bill of February 1892, it would appear, was itself "an emasculated edition of a
Bill printed for private circulation some time ago, by parties interested in education",26
according to one opposing member of the legislature. Most of the meetings organized
around the issue were called by churchmen"27 who also, no doubt, made up the 'influen-
tial body of gentlemen' who saw Blake and the 'parties interested in education'.28 The
1886 Commission itself was dominated by the men of the cloth although it was chaired
by the Colonial Secretary.29 It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the recommendations
favoured the denominations and that they should benefit handsomely from the 1892
Laws. Yet the Elementary Education Law was a compromise: the state was forced to go
further than it had originally intended and, contrary to the recommendations of the
Crossman Commission established by the government in Whitehall in 1883 to look into
the conditions of the British West Indies, the reformers accepted less than the 1886
recommendations. But this compromise was to the detriment of elementary school teach-
The Teachers' Initiative and the State's Response
Although individual teachers were involved in the agitation for reform, they did not
stand out as a group with common interests. In his intervention in the debate over the
February 1892 Elementary Education Bill, Governor Blake attacked the teachers as being
'incompetent'. In his report for the previous year, the Superintending Inspector of
Schools had stated that of the 850 headteachers in the country receiving government
grants-in-aid there were only 115 who were of the first of the five grades into which
teachers were classed.30 The Privy Council and the Governor, however, understood this
report to mean that the teaching occupation as a whole was performing far below expec-
tations and advanced this as their reason for refusing to levy an education tax for the
Blake's attack struck an immediate response from elementary school teachers. At a
meeting at Rock River, Clarendon, a number of teachers expressed their bitterness over
the Governor's remarks.32 Many letters were also sent to the Daily Gleaner by individual
teachers responding to the allegation, but alsc raising questions pertaining to the general
education issues of the day.33 For example, in March, one school teacher wrote to the
Gleaner, not merely protesting against Blake's remarks, but calling on all teachers to
unite so as "to ventilate our opinions on the educational questions of the day. If we do
not speak now, then it may be justly said of us that we are a body of incompetent
men".34 He urged teachers to take to 'pen' and 'paper' and to follow the example of the
English and Welsh teachers whose voices were now being listened to in Britain because
they were well organized. "In plain language," he continued, "Mr Capper (the Super-
intending Inspector of Schools, and the official responsible for the passage of the Edu-
cation Bill in the legislature) is not at all in sympathy with the Jamaican school teach-
er"35 because there was nothing in the Bill for teachers. Soon after this, a prominent
member of the Kingston Educational Association, Major Plant, who was later to become
one of the first presidents of the JUT, placed an advertisement in the Gleaner encouraging
teachers throughout the country to send their views to the Kingston Association so that
they could be more coherently and systematically expressed and channelled to the appro-
This offer from the Kingston Association was not only a bid for leadership; it
reflected a growing and widespread awareness on the part of teachers themselves that as a
distinct occupational group elementary school teachers needed an organization through
which they could make their voices heard and respected by the government. Whereas in
the 1880s teachers had seen the need to form themselves into educational associations to
discuss common classroom problems and therefore responded favourably to Colonel
Hicks' circular, in the 1890s the public debate over education and the passing of the Ele-
mentary Education Law in 1892 brought home to many of them the glaring need for an
association which would embrace both professional and trade union concerns of teachers.
The victory of the churches on the question of educational reform, news of the activities
of English and Welsh teachers and the utter neglect of the interests of the Jamaican
teacher pointed to the necessity of unity and organization as means to influence govern-
ment and at the same time protect teachers.
Two elementary school teachers played particularly important parts in the forma-
tion of the JUT J. A. Mason and W. F. Bailey. In his History of the Jamaica Union
of Teachers, published in 1937, "on the authority of the executive of the Union",37
Bailey argued that the formation of the Union was largely the result of his own efforts.3
He claimed that knowledge of the activities of the British National Union of Teachers
(NUT) came to him through his many discussions with the Rev William Gillies, one of
the two co-principals of the Mico Teachers' College.39 It was Gillies too who impressed
upon Bailey the necessity for a union of teachers in Jamaica.40 At a meeting of the North
Manchester Teachers' Association, Bailey mentioned that it would be good to actually do
something about the formation of an island-wide association and he issued a general
invitation to those present to meet at his home and discuss the matter. Ten teachers
accepted the invitation and seven of them sat down "with grim determination to see this
In Bailey's words, there was no "hesitation in unanimously agreeing that the time
had come for action and that this small group might do a great deal to rouse the attention
of all Jamaica".42 A circular was drafted, printed and sent out to one hundred teachers
and students "calling for a Teachers' Convention at Spanish Town on Friday, March
30th, 1894'.43 Since Mason was the senior member of the small gathering at Bailey's
home, he was made secretary and, when the new Union was inaugurated in Spanish Town,
he became its Secretary-General. It was Bailey, too, who with the help of the Rev Mr
Gillies secured copies of the British NUT's constitution and fashioned the JUT's on it.44 In
later days, this account was usually accepted as the full story of the founding of the
But there is another story in which Mason is described as the prime mover in the
formation of the Union. At the first Annual Conference of the JUT in 1895 a great
deal was said about its founding and Mason was portrayed as the undisputed leader of
those who worked to found a national union. J. J. Mills, the veteran JUT member and
four-times president of the Union, writing in the 1960s (admittedly late in the day)
told the following story:
When I joined the Jamaica Union of Teachers in 1909.
shortly after I had started teaching, I was told that
the real founder was Mr J. A. Mason. a teacher in
North Manchester. Much later on, the Union official-
ly honoured him as a founder at a function at the
Addressing the JUT Annual Conference in 1903. the leading black radical of the period
and in many ways the precursor of Marcus Garvey, Dr Robert Love. who had previ-
ously worked on the behalf of teachers.48 strengthened this claim when he stated in his
usual unabashed fashion that:
If it is true that Mr Mason was the one who first
conceived the idea of organizing the Jamaica Union
of Teachers, and first attempted to give it material
effect (and until now it has never been denied and
therefore must be taken as true) then (sic) I am for
something in the constitution of this Union. I think I
am safe in saying that I was the first person whom
Mr Mason consulted with regard to the carrying out
of his idea. He came to my room, on East Street.
nearly every afternoon for a fortnight opened his
plans to me and we discussed the possibilities and
methods. I did all I could to help him to think it out.
and I impressed upon him that the chief aim ought to
be about the establishment of the teaching profession
in Jamaica as a department of the Civil Service. It was
I who counselled him to confer immediately with the
William Morrison, Esq and to obtain his aid.49
Mills wrote also that there were claims that the founder was Colonel Hicks. who was by
1894 the Senior Chief Inspector of Schools in the Education Department.50 This can
be safely dismissed, however, for there is no evidence to support the claim. It is possible
that there was a confusion between the encouragement given by the Colonel in the 1880s
to the formation of Educational Associations and the actual founding of the JUT. There
seems little doubt that Mason played the more important role in the founding of the JUT.
but, clearly. Bailey was also closely involved. What is of paramount importance, however,
is the fact that the Union was the result of the efforts of elementary school teachers
themselves, unlike the Jamaica Agricultural Society. for example, which was founded a
year after the JUT. but entirely as a governmental response to a popular demand for more
state assistance in agricultural training at a time when the contribution of peasant produc-
tion (particularly of banana) to the national economy was being recognized."5
This is not to deny that churchmen and, to a lesser extent, officials, had some
influence on the Union in its infancy. There was a close association between teachers and
clergymen such as Archdeacon Simms (a prominent member of the Board of Education),
Rev Gillies, Rev James Balfour (who later became president of the Union) and, of
course, officials such as Col Hicks.52 The strong moral tone teachers' leaders were to
adopt in arguing their briefs was a distinct influence of the church.53 But even if teachers
were required to pay a price for their close association to these men. their Union gained
immensely from the relationship. The JUT was quickly accepted as a respectable and
legitimate group championing the cause of education and the interests of its members and
it gained limited and intermittent access to decision-makers through such individual con-
The state itself welcomed the formation of the Union. It was reported at the 1895
Annual Conference that Mason, on informing the governor of the intention to found a
union, received a letter couched in "encouraging terms" from Blake.s4 Thomas Capper,
Superintending Inspector of Schools and Head of the Education Department, also wel-
comed the founding of the JUT. Another important speaker at the 1903 Annual Con-
ference of the Union was the Colonial Secretary, the Fabian socialist Sydney Olivier -
later Lord Olivier who was to become well known for his eulogy of the Jamaican pea-
santry and from the report, his address was very revealing, not only about what may be
called the exhortatoryy' aspect of politics in the colony and later in independent Jam-
aica,55 but also of the official attitude towards the Union. He posed the rhetorical ques-
tion whether the government recognized the JUT and continued:
Any government associated with promotion of ele-
mentary and technical education could not but
welcome and recognize such an organization as this
one, founded upon the model of those valuable and
efficient organizations that they had in Great Britain.
No system of elementary public education could be
carried or. satisfactorily without some such co-
operative body of the teachers involved in it. He
(Olivier) was glad that there was in Jamaica such an
organization with which the administrative officers
of the government could meet and, to a certain
The Colonial Secretary particularly wanted to see the JUT assist the government in its
drive to get the peasantry to work the land more efficiently and increase the output of
agricultural commodities. The report of his speech continued on this point:
There was a great deal of misunderstanding . many
people regarding any activity of the government and
official bodies as part of a scheme for getting money
out of them in the way of taxes. The efforts of the
instructors of the (JAS) had been greatly frustrated
on account of this attitude on the part of the people.
That was a feeling that must be dispelled and no body
was more able to dispel it than the Union of teach-
ers.57 (emphasis added).
The JUT was particularly useful to the state, as Olivier the Benevolent recognized.
because the members of the Union worked close to the peasantry, the producers of the
country's export crops and whom the state, at this time, was concerned to encourage to
Apart from the support the JUT received from the churches and the state, it also
received considerable support from more prestigious teachers in the Teachers' Colleges.
Colonel L. G. Gruchy. the co-Principal (with Gillies) of the Mico Teachers' College,
gave his not inconsiderable backing to the new union and was elected president of the
JUT for its first three years and for a fourth later. Another staff member of the Mico
College. Robert Lindsay, was elected the first treasurer of the Union.58 These men
were not involved in the earliest initiative to found the Union, but they were quick to
give support and thus played the important role of helping to give the JUT respectability,
legitimacy and an early momentum because of their recognizable influential class posi-
The Teaching Occupation
Elementary school teachers were, as mentioned earlier, especially suited to be
organized at this point in the development of the educational system. In a socially and
economically backward colonial society like Jamaica, education formed practically the
only social service which would employ a large number of sons of the soil and it was
inevitable that teachers would be a fairly pronounced group by virtue of their work.
Elementary school teaching became one of the main -if not. the main means of
upward social mobility for ambitious sons of the lower-middle or intermediary classes
and the more prosperous peasantry who saw no prospects of a satisfying future on the
land, and who had no way of attending secondary school which held out the possibility
of going to university in England and starting a career in the civil service.
Teachers were recruited at different levels as pupil-teachers at the age of 14 and
15 years, or, after passing the Pupil Teachers' Examinations (PTE) instituted by Thomas
Capper,59 in their late 'teens or after attending a teachers' training college. Most entered
as pupil-teachers and later progressed to taking the PTI and sometimes even going on to
college. The pupil-teacher received a small grant from the state and when he became a stu-
dent at college, his fees were paid by the state with the understanding that on graduating
he would teach for a number of years.60 The system of payment-by-results made it
possible for some teachers to make a decent living and the more ambitious could hope to
become ministers in one of the respectable denominations. The close link between school
and church, therefore, provided some means of 'promotion', so to speak, for the more
able.61 Writing in 1897, Thomas Capper saw the process of social upward mobility thus:
The fact that many teachers are also catechists or lay
preachers undoubtedly tends to attract a higher class
of men into the teaching profession, both from the
addition they thus obtain to their salaries and from
the hope of promotion to the Ministry of the different
churches, which is in many cases recruited from the
best of the teachers, whilst the religious bodies of
course benefit greatly by having a living income
secured to their catechists independent of anything
they might get from church funds.62
In the 1890s elementary school teaching in Jamaica was still very much a male domin-
ated occupation, a situation which the officials of the Education Department and the
Lumb Commissioners of 1898-99 wished to change. It was argued that the presence
of more women in the occupation would have the effect of improving the 'morals'
of the community and the teachers themselves as well as encouraging the teaching of
domestic science and thus making education more 'relevant'.63 The move, however, is sug-
gestive of a deliberate attempt to keep salaries down. release men for agricultural work
since agricultural labour was perceived by the less enlightened planters, who were well
represented in the colonial state, as one of the crucial problems of the period. Another
reason for such action may also have been to undermine the militancy of a pivotal occu-
Moreover. elementary school teachers formed the largest single occupational group
of those categorized as 'professional' workers in the country. In 1891, there were only
107 doctors and dentists in the country, 81 lawyers, 1,501 public servants (these includ-
ed the constabulary, prison wardens, et al) and 329 clergymen, whereas there were 1,733
teachers and 3,229 in the general category 'others'.64 These figures require some qualifi-
cation: for example. it seems unlikely that there were only 329 clergymen in a commun-
ity as religious as Jamaica, and having many religious sects;65 it is highly probable that
this number represented only clergymen of the 'respectable' denominations such as the
Anglican. Methodist and Baptist churches. The figures for teachers also call for some
caution because it is not clear whether they included teachers in secondary as well as
those in elementary schools. But even if these figures were inclusive, by far the larger
proportion were elementary school teachers. In 1892/3 there were 912 elementary schools
receiving grants-in-aid from the state and in 1894/5 these increased to 962.66 Each of
these had a headteacher and most had assistants or pupil-teachers, so that nearly all
if not indeed all -of the 1.733 teachers in 1891 may be expected to have been element-
ary school teachers. Eisner noted that doctors and lawyers, after Emancipation in 1838,
' declined sharply '67 in the country but that generally 'professional' workers rose from
1.9 per cent in 1881 to 2.5 per cent in 1891 and 3.3 per cent in 1921, and this rise was
due to "the spectacular growth in the number of teachers and civil servants".68 These
were elementary school teachers because, although the state increased its assistance to
the secondary education sector, it was the elementary education sector that received the
overwhelming attention of the state from the 1890s, particularly after the 1892 Laws.
This growth in the number of elementary school teachers in the 1890s coincided
with their coming directly under government control. Indeed the passing of the Element-
ary Education Law in 1892 marked the peak in this development during the colonial
period. After the reforms under Sir John Peter Grant, the first Governor under the Crown
Colony system instituted in 1866. and his Inspector of Schools, Mr Savage, in 1867,69
teachers steadily came under the regulation of the state through the system of payment-
by-results. In order to supplement the fees received from parents, teachers would receive
a grant-in-aid from the state at the end of each year, depending on the 'results' the school
inspector found when he examined pupils. Under the 1892 Law the state would pay the
teacher's salary and no more fees would be collected from parents. This brought teachers
even more directly into the clutches of the inspector upon whose report the teacher's
salary now depended totally.
Furthermore, with the establishment of the Board of Education under the 1892
Law as the body responsible for the allocation of the Educational Vote and for resolving
disputes between teachers and managers and teachers and inspectors, elementary school
teachers became more subjected than before to central control. The new revised Code of
Regulations of 1893 established exact rules regarding the 'proper' relationship between
the teacher and his pupil, the Education Department and the manager. Although the
teacher's relationship with the Department was left ambiguous, with the churches retain-
ing the rights of employment and dismissal and the Board being responsible for the imple-
mentation of the Code. his contact with government officials was more frequent and
definite. One thing that this meant was that grievances could now be addressed to a specific
and authoritative body on such matters as terms of employment and salaries, and it was a
body that stood outside both the teaching occupation and the various denominations,
notwithstanding their strong influence on it. The intervention of the state in the organi-
zation and financing of elementary education in the country, therefore, helped in bring-
ing about the conditions for the oldest active teachers' union in the region to emerge and
The question of how the JUl, as a pressure group, performed within the confines
of the colonial order can only be adequately answered after examining the nature of t.e
issues it raised, the activities it engaged in, and the fortunes of the Union, but these are
considerations which are beyond the scope of this paper. It is seen, however, that it was
possible for such a group espousing values which were not opposed to those of the estab-
lished order to emerge in a colonial situation. This was facilitated by the particular posi-
tion of teachers. A large and distinct group in an underdeveloped society, teachers were
needed by the state, not only as teachers who transmitted a body of knowledge which
rested on assumptions common to the ideology of empire, but also because of their prox-
imity to the traditionally suspicious Jamaican peasantry who had become, since emanci-
pation in 1838. a vital factor in the country's still largely agricultural economy. The JUT
was therefore a salutary development from the point of view of the government. Of
course, the government also found the JUT-useful for its possible guaranteed co-operation
of teachers with government on its policies and the Union would also play the useful
role of providing the government with teachers' attitudes towards official policy and
The JUT was greatly helped by the skills provided by the staff of the Mico Teachers'
College Gillies. Gruchy. Lindsay and recent settlers and clergymen such as Hicks
and Simms respectively. Close association with these influential men made access
(although at first limited and intermittent), legitimacy and respectability relatively easy
for the young organization. Because the JLT was a body of teachers who considered
themselves members of a profession and also because of its close relationship with
influentialss', a strong influence from official circles was exercised over the Union from
its very infancy and it never once, throughout its over sixty years' existence, adopted
militant tactics to gain its ends. Throughout this history, from 1894 to 1963 when the
Union voluntarily dissolved itself in favour of establishing a single teachers' association
for the whole profession (the Jamaica Teachers' Association whosemembership includes
elementary and secondary school teachers as well as those in higher education below uni-
versity level). the JUT's leadership never failed to preach moderation.70 Indeed. to para-
phrase St Paul. it might even be said that the JUT was moderate even in moderation
itself. But the important point is that the Union's formation and activities within the con-
straints of the colonial system were significant. It was part of a wider class trajectory
which was to give form to the Jamaica which has consolidated itself after the protests of
1. The Handbook of Jamaica for 1895. (Kingston: Government Printing OIice, 1895). p. 503.
2. Ibid.: sec also W . Bailey, The History of the Jamaica Union of Teachers. (Kingston: The
Gleaner Co. Ltd., 1937), pp. 12 13.
3. Ibid p. 12
4. See lor example, G. E aton, "Trade Union Developmien in Jamaica", Caribbean Quarterly, vol.
viii No. 1 (1962) p. 43.
5. See V. D'Oyley, "The Development ol leacher IEducation in Jamaica, 1838- 1913". Ontario
Journal of Educational Research, ,ol. 6, No. I (Autumn. 1963), p. 44.
6 The Handbook for Jamaica for 1894, (Kingston: governmentt Printing Olfice, 1894), p. 501.
7. See The Daily Gleaner, (I ebruary April, 1892) passim.
8. The Handbook of Jamaica for 1894, p. 501
9. Ibid.: also. Hailey. The History, chapters 2 and 3: and. "The Address ol the President of the JUT
to the Annual Conlerence oI the Union". Daily Gleaner, (20 May 1895).
10. Daily Gleaner. 3 March 1892) p. 4: The Colonial Standard and Jamaica Dispatch. (12 January
1892), p. 2: see also, 1. Capper. "The System of Lducation in Jamaica", Educational Systems in
the Main Colonies of the British Empire, ed., M. E. Sadler, Great Britain: Board of Education
Special Reports on Educational Subjects, vol. iv, Cd. 416, (London: HMSO, 1901), pp. 575-628.
11. Bailey, The History, chap. 1; Daily Gleaner, (5,6, 9 February 1892). The Exhibition also had its
effects on teachers, according to Bailey (pp. 2-5) and the Handbook of Jamaica for 1895. Two
Americans, Dr Dickenson and Professor Boyden, were invited to give a series of lectures on ele-
mentary education and these proved immensely popular with the teachers who attended. At the
close of the 'Teachers' Institute' (as the series of lectures came to be referred to), the view was
expressed that it would be useful to have an island-wide teachers' organization. But it seems that
the desire was for an association which would organize similar series of lectures for teachers to be
able to improve their classroom performance, rather than one which would embrace trade union
and professional concerns of teachers, in other words, the existing educational associations writ
12. Daily Gleaner, (5,6,9 January 1892).
13. Ibid., Daily Gleaner, (23 March 1892)
14. There was considerable opposition to the tax, particularly in the urban areas, largely because,
although the tax was raised nationwide, the countryside stood to gain most since nearly all ele-
mentary schools were in the rural areas. See Daily Gleaner, (April, May, July, 1892), passim;
also Minutes of the Legislative Council of Jamaica, 1892-97, (Kingston: Government Printing
Office, 1897), passim.
15. Daily Gleaner, (18, 19 July 1892); "Report of the Proceedings of the Board of Education for
the year ending March, 31, 1894", The Blue Book and General Report of Jamaica, 1893/94,
(Kingston: Government Printing Office, 1895), the Superintending Inspector of Schools wrote:
the predictions of school masters and other persons that the abolition of fees would result
in the more irregular attendance of the children have been signally falsified and as has been
pointed out, the reverse has been the result. (p. ix of the Report).
16. See "Report of the Proceedings of the Board of Education, 1893/94", The Blue Book, 1893/
94, p. 338, in 1892 only The Colonial Standard, (17 June 1892), raised this as an issue, but then,
only to ask why a certain Rev Radclilfe had not been given a seat on the Board.
17. Jamaica, Minutes of the Privy Council, 1883-93, (23 January 1891). C.O. 140
18. See Report of the West India Royal Commission with Subsidiary Report and Statistical Tables
and Diagrams and Maps, C. 8655, (London: HMSO, 1897): also. Sir David Barbour, Report on
the Finances of Jamaica, (Kingston: Government Printing Office, 1899).
19. It was not until 1898/99. when Joseph Chamberlain was Secretary of State for the Colonies, that
Whitehall became concerned over education and this was only indirectly so. Chamberlain's pri-
mary concern at this time was over the state of the colony's finances and since education was one
of the main areas of government expenditure it also came in for the Birmingham businessman's
scrutiny. See Barbour. The Finances of Jamaica; also. Daily Gleaner, (2 January 1900) and the
"Education Department, Report for the year ending 31st March, 1906", Departmental Reports
of Jamaica, 1906-07, (Kingston: Government Printing Office, 1907), for an account of
Whitehall's attempt to restrict educational expenditure in the colony to 60,000 per annum. This
was successfully resisted by the Board of Education and the JUT.
20. Jamaica, Minutes of the Privy Council, (22 F cbruary 1892) and, Minutes of the Legislative
Council of Jamaica (in two Sessions) 5 November 1891 4 August 1892, (Kingston: Gov-
ernment Printing Office. 1892).
21. "The Hon. Legislative Council", Daily Gleaner, (9 March 1892).
23. Minutes of the Legislative Council, (30 March 1892).
24. Ibid., (8 April 1891).
25. Ibid., (5 November 1891).
26. "Hon. Legislative Council", Daily Gleaner, (9 March 1892).
27. See Colonial Standard. (12 January 1892).
28. Minutes of the Legislative Council, (5 and 10 March 1892).
29. T. Capper, "The System of Education in Jamaica", Educational Systems, ed.. Sadler, p. 577
30. Minutes of the Legislative Council. (10 March 1892).
31. "The Hon. Legislative Council", Daily Gleaner. (9 March 1892).
32. Daily Gleaner, (5 April 1892)
33. See, for example, Daily Gleaner, (February April 1892), passim.
34. Daily Gleaner, (23 March 1892), p. 3.
36. Daily Gleaner, (5 April 1892), p. 2, (13 June 1892), p. 3.
37. Bailey. The History, title page.
38. Ibid., chapters 1 3.
39. Ibid., p. 8.
41. Ibid., p. 9.
44. Ibid., p. 11
45. See, for example, Jamaica Union of Teachers, 1894-1944, Celebrations, (n. d., but presumably
1944), particularly, U. C Wolfe, "History of the Jamaica Union of Teachers", Jamaica Teachers'
Association Souvenir Programme, (1964), p. 28.
46. Daily Gleaner, (20 May 1895).
47. R. N. Murray, (ed.), J. J. Mills: His Own Account of His Life and Times, (Kingston: Collins and
Sangstcr (Jamaica) Ltd., 1969), p. 60.
48. The JUT Annual Report, 1903, p. 25: I am also grateful to Mr Richard Hart for allowing me to
see and utilize his "Notes of the Recollections of W. A. Domingo of Dr Robert Love and S. A.
(Sandy) Cox, made in the Internment Camp, 1942-43".
49. The JUT Annual Report 1903, pp. 25-6.
50. R. N. Murray, op. cit., p. 61.
51. For an account of the origins of the JAS see, The Journal of the Jamaica Agricultural Society,
vol. 1. no. 1. January 1897, p2, also, Jamaica Dispatches and Correspondence 1894-1900, C.O.
137, no. 560, Dispatch 234, Letter from Sir Henry Blake to the Secretary of State, date 3 July,
52. Bailey, op. cit., pp. 15 -16, where he gives a long list of churchmen who became honorary mem-
53. This point is borne out in the official and newspaper reports of the period.
54. The Daily Gleaner, 20 May. 1895. It is interesting that Blake made no mention in any of his dis-
patches of the formation of the Union.
55. See, H. Goulbourne, "Teachers and Pressure Group Activity in Jamaica, 1894-1967", D. Phil.
Thesis, University of Sussex, 1975, ch. 7.
56. The Annual Reprot of the JUT, 1903, p. 22.
58. The Daily Gleaner, 20 May, 1985, also Bailey, op. cit., p. 11.
59. See, D'O'yley, op. cit., p. 44.
60. See, for example, The Handbook of Jamaica for 1895, p. 306; also, Report of the Commission
Appointed to Enquire into the system of Education in Jamaica, 1898, (Kingston: Government
Printing Office, 1898). pp. 12 ff. Hereafter, the Lumb Commission (named after its chairman).
61. T. Capper, op. cit., passim.
62. Ibid., p. 585.
63. See, for example, The Lumb Commission, p. 12; also "Education Department, Report for the
Year Ended 31st March, 1899", Departmental Reports 1898-1899, (Kingston: Government Pub-
lishing Office, 1900), pp. 367 ff.
64. Gisela Eisner, Jamaica 1830-1930, A Study in Economic Growth, (Manchester University Press,
1961), p. 163 Table xxiii.
65. The following provide useful insights into the role of religion and 'religiousity' in Jamaica: M.
Kerr, Personality and Conflict in Jamaica (Liverpool, 1952), ch. xiv; G. E. Simpson, "Jamaican
Revivalist Cults", SES, vol. v, no. iv (1956); M. G. Smith. Roy Augier and Rex Nettleford, The
Ras Tafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica, (Kingston: Institute of Social and Economic Re-
search, UCWI, 1960).
66. See, "Report on the Proceedings of the Board of Education for the Year Ended 31st March,
1895", The Governor's Report on the Blue Book and Departmental Reports 1894/5, (Kingston:
Government Printing Office, 1896), pp. 338-341.
67. Eisner, op. cit., p. 165.
68. Ibid., pp. 165-6.
69. D'Oyley, "Development of Teacher Education", p. 43.
70. See H. Goulbourne, Teachers, Education and Politics in Jamaica, 1892-1967, (forthcoming),
chapters 5 and 7.
THE JAMAICAN PUBLIC AND THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
This survey represents an update of an earlier study carried out by the author in October-
November 1982 to assess how the Jamaican public viewed the University of the West
Indies, Mona, its work and its institutional standing.
Since this earlier survey, some important developments have occurred which may
or may not influence public opinion of the UWI, Mona. Following administrative restruc-
turing, there has been a significant decentralisation of campus administration, giving more
autonomy to the local UWI campuses. In response to the findings of the first survey, the
UWl's Public Relations Office has diversified and deepened its communication strategies
to achieve a larger flow of information on UwI in the hope that it will strengthen the
institution's public image and public support.
In addition to the need to compare how current public opinion contrasts with the
earlier pattern of three years ago, part of the object of this new survey is to assess the
response of the Jamaican public and the UWI community to these developments so as to
guide future strategies for information communication on UWI.
In both surveys, the views of both the wider public and various groupings within
the University community were covered. This provided a basis for assessing how the Uni-
versity community's image of itself compares with that of the wider public it serves.
Within the wider public, we concentrate on the socio-economic groupings who make use
of the University's output, are interested in and see themselves as having a stake in what
the University does and how well it does it and constitute what we have defined as the
attentive publics who, in effect, define the University's wider public image through their
influence in the society. These groupings include managers, professionals, white collar and
technical workers and persons with a minimum of secondary education. Within the Uni-
versity community, we focus on academic staff members as well as on administrative and
The sample used for this survey consisted of the following main sub-groupings;
200 managers, 200 professionals, 400 white collar and technical workers
80 academics, 120 clerks, secretaries or administrative staff
In contrast to the earlier survey, we have left out manual workers from both the
wider public and the UWi community on the basis that the 1982 survey established that
the University and its work have very little salience for these groups. Further, their low
interest in its activities insulates them against assimilating communication and public rela-
tions projections about UWl.
Restructuring the UWl
The survey found that only the well-informed minorities outside of the University's
community had a grasp of the implications of the recent administrative restructuring of
UW1. Among managers and professionals, this varied between 20 per cent and 28 per cent
respectively. Among the white collar workers with University degrees, among whom
are many recent graduates of UWi, there is a significantly larger percentage (40 per cent)
who are familiar with the restructuring exercise. Staff members are, of course, relatively
well informed on the subject. The lowest level of awareness was among the high school
educated white collar workers whose information about and interest in UWl are consider-
ably below that of the managers and professionals and the University educated.
Awareness of restructuring of UWI
(a) Percentage of persons able to identify what the restructuring means
white collar rest of UWI
managers professionals Univ. educated white collar academics
20% 28% 40% 4% 94%
(b) support for restructuring
managers professionals white collar rest of UWI
Univ. educated white collar academics
for 12% 14% 14% 1% 24%
against 8% 14% 26% 3% 70%
total 20% 28% 40% 4% 94%
As table l(b) makes clear, there is considerable opposition to restructuring both
within the UWI community and among the wider public. This opposition is based on a
number of considerations which include the following:
i. prospects for greater political interference at UWl
ii. reduction of regional character of University of the West Indies
iii. UW1 Mona's dependence on the government of Jamaica which is cutting back
The UWl's Impact
Opinions on the major contributions of Uwl, Mona. to the Jamaican society are
similar to those emerging from the 1982 survey. The teaching function is seen as the
major contribution through the spread of skills and the training of qualified persons in a
variety of fields. Research and expertise which assist national development are seen as
taking second place to that perceived primary contribution. Medical care through the
UWI hospital also gets special mention.
All this suggests that in structuring information on what UWl is doing appropriate
focus must be directed towards growth, development and upgrading of skills, training and
areas of expertise passed on to students in the various undergraduate, certificate and dip-
loma as well as post-graduate areas of teaching conducted in the respective Departments
and Faculties; also that some effort must be made to show how well UWl is meeting the
training needs of the society in various fields of endeavour. A related area of interest
would be to publish information on the growing presence of UWI graduates in key lead-
ership, managerial and technical positions in critical institutions, enterprises and areas of
public life in the country.
Major Contributions to Jamaica by UWI Mona
managers professionals white collar
rest of white
Medical care emerges as the dominant contribution only in the eyes of the less
educated white collar workers who place far less emphasis on the teaching function as
compared to managers and professionals and the more educated among the white collar
workers. Very few persons see UWI as not making any contribution. The profile of UWI
non-academic staff opinion looks very much like that of managers and professionals in the
wider public. The academic staff places considerably greater emphasis on UWI's research
capability and expertise to contribute to national development than other groupings in
A listing of gripes and dissatisfactions with UWI throws up responses that are gen-
erally similar to those that emerged from the 1982 study. The main criticisms from the
wider public focus on low enrolment and inadequate expansion of UWI, Mona, course
contents being too academic and not sufficiently practical, limited range of choice for
course offerings in the respective faculties and huge gaps in the areas of training offered,
problems of restricted entry given the gap between available places and the surplus
Dissatisfactions with UWI
managers professions white collar rest of white
Univ. educated collar
academic 13% 18% 10% 8%
course options 19% 17% 21% 25%
enrolment 23% 25% 28% 22%
admission 7% 8% 18% 15%
students 4% 6% 5% 4%
administration 1% 2%( 1% 1%
leftist 12% 18% 13% 11%
facilities 20% 11% 14% 19%
academic staff non-academic staff
administration 42% 377'
poor facilities 21% 23%
teaching areas and
enrolment 13% 20%
salary 28% 26%
the percentages add up to more than 100 per cent in somic cases because of multiple
answers by many respondents
demand for UWI education, objection to left-leaning ideological influences, inadequate
provision for students and poor facilities.
Academic staff dissatisfactions centre around a quite different agenda of concerns.
These relate to negative views about how Uwl is administered and issues relating to salary
and working conditions and inadequate expansion and diversification of UWl, Mona.
Non-academic staff concerns are similar to those of the academic staff and somewhat
different from groupings from the wider public outside the University.
These findings suggest by their consistency with the earlier survey that there is a
strong and stable agenda of concerns about what the UWi is doing. Further, it seems to
be the case that in packaging information about UWI some effort should be made to
address some of these issues, especially in areas where actions taken, policies developed
or programmes being implemented seek to reduce the basis for these dissatisfactions. It
would aid the objective of seeking to strengthen the University's image to try as much
as possible to sensitise academic staff to the agenda of concerns of the wider community
and especially those who prepare materials for wider consumption outside of the Uni-
The first survey results were published in Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 29, Nos. 3 &
4, September/December, 1983. and in the form of a summary in the UWi newsletter. In
the Faculty of Social Sciences, a special seminar was held to discuss the implications of
the findings. These efforts should be expanded with respect to the current findings to
reinforce sensitivities generated by the first study.
Support for UWl
Support for UWI was assessed by finding out how many respondents would prefer
to send sons and daughters to UWI in preference to overseas universities and by asking
those interviewed to compare UWl's standards in specific areas with those of universities
of similar size in the USA and the UK.
In the first survey, preference for Uwl as a training institution compared to other
universities in the USA and the UK was strongest among the lower income and less edu-
cated groups, but the overall UWI preference was relatively strong. The current survey
reveals the same pattern as in the groupings outside the University: preference for UWI
is strongest among the least educated, white collar workers, and weakest among man-
agers, professionals and University-educated white collar workers.
Two important differences have emerged in the current survey. Firstly, prefer-
ence for UWI over comparable overseas universities has dropped significantly over the
three-year period since the first survey among professionals, managers and highly educat-
ed white collar workers. Among the lesser educated white collar workers, the level has
remained constant. In spite of the increased value of hard currency in Jamaican dollars,
preference for overseas education is increasing, rather than declining. The main reasons
offered by respondents are that UWI does not offer a wide enough range of courses in
technology and professional skills. A minority believe that, given the trends in the Jamai-
can economy, a foreign education is a greater asset. A few were concerned about falling
standards at UWI. but they represented a very small minority.
Among UWI staff, preference for-UWI remains high. As was found in the past, the
highest preference for UWI-among groupings outside of the University was among the
lowest socio-economic category, namely lesser educated white collar workers.
Percentage preferring UWI over overseas Universities
white collar (Univ. educated)
rest of white collar
The ranking of UWI with comparable US and UK universities produced some
interesting results which suggest an improvement in both the teaching and non-teaching
areas of UWI's public image for the various sub-groupings within the wider Jamaican
public. One explanation might be the more extensive flow of information on UWl now be-
ing channelled through all the media and the effect in filling information gaps about
In the 1982 survey, a majority of professionals and managers rated Uwl as being
inferior in both research and scientific expertise. While substantial minorities still hold
that view, the current survey reveals in Table 5 a majority for all groups which ranks UWI
as being either equal to or better than comparable small universities in the USA or the
UK. The majority of both managers and professionals which rated UWl as being equal or
better in the areas of teaching also significantly increased over the three-year period.
Rating of UWI with smaller U.S. and U.K. Universities
54% 51; 4)0% 3%
17% 30; 76% 46%
63% 68' 15; 0(%
17% 39" 78'; 44';
58% 38% 25;
12% 83% 88%
The 1982 survey made no provision for rating UWl in the fields of medicine and
the social sciences. It is therefore not possible to make a similar comparison. However,
for both professionals and managers, a huge majority sees the UWI as being either on par
with or better than comparable UK and US. Universities in these two areas. Clearly the
public has a very high rating of UWl's work in these two fields.
In the case of UWl-academics, the 1982 survey revealed a weak self-rating in the
areas of research and scientific expertise, but a favourable comparative rating for teach-
ing. The current survey shows both a big increase in the positive comparative rating for
teaching as well as a majority positive comparative rating in the areas of research and
scientific expertise. Paralleling the views of the wider public, Uwl-academics give the
institution a high self-rating in the areas of medicine and the social sciences.
Greater spread of information about research and related activities by Mona aca-
demics through radio, newspaper, newsletters and heightened interest in these matters
activated by the first survey have combined to raise the University's public image among
the aware outside the campus and among the academic staff itself which now operates
with a much stronger self-image compared to overseas universities.
An identification of the UWl personalities enjoying great public visibility was done
by asking respondents to list outstanding Uwl contributions by name. The list of names
emerging was similar to that generated by the 1982 survey. The difference is that a
larger percentage of respondents identifies outstanding contributions at Mona. indi-
cating that the visibility factor is also on the increase and has been most likely influenced
by the increased flow of information about UWl in the media. Also, the recognized out-
standing personalities have received a much higher level of recognition as indicated by a
considerably greater frequency of mention when compared to the earlier survey in 1982.
Medicine, political journalism, the creative arts, public service and politics are the
areas of endeavour which attracted the greatest public recognition of-UWl academics and
reflect the highest level of national visibility. The most visible personalities are Pro-
fessors Stone, Nettleford. Golding. Miller, Mills, Lalor and Brathwaite and Drs Munroe,
Morrison, and Vice-Chancellor Preston. Outstanding academics in other fields fall behind
in terms of this important visibility factor. In packaging UwI information for P.R. pur-
poses, greater emphasis should perhaps be given to the areas of endeavour where out-
standing work is being done, but there is a very low level of national visibility. Similarly,
those areas of activity identified as enjoying great national visibility can be de-emphasised
in media coverage in order to maximise the spread of information about UWl's activities
and achievements to the wider Jamaican public.
Obviously, personal visibility is a function of how much LWI academics and adminis-
trators get involved in activities outside of the campus in areas that generate a lot of public
interest. The more academics project their profiles beyond the classroom, the labora-
tory or the research centre and link these academic activities to developments of import-
ance to the wider society in such areas as culture, technology, production, management,
creative arts, politics, public service and public education, the more visibility the institu-
tion will enjoy nationally.
UWI staff members most mentioned as making a significant
contribution to Jamaica (percentage mentioned by respondents)
Managers: Carl Stone 62%, John Golding 31%, Rex Nettleford 18%,
Errol Miller 14%, Aston Preston 8%, Gladstone Mills 5%.
Errol Morrison 4%, Gerald Lalor 4%
Professionals: Carl Stone 42%, Rex Nettleford 19%, John Golding 18%,
Errol Miller 9%, Gerald Lalor 8%, Eddie Brathwaite 5%,
Gladstone Mills 5%, Eddie Baugh 2%
White Collar Carl Stone 45%, Rex Nettleford 23%, Trevor Munroe 22%,
(Univ. educated): Errol Morrison 19%, John Golding 17%. Omar Davies 12%,
Gladstone Mills 6%, George Beckford 4%
Rest of Carl Stone 38%, Rex Nettleford 37%, John Golding 26%,
White Collar: Errol Miller 15%, Trevor Munroe 14%, Gladstone Mills 10%,
A. Z. Preston 8%, (the late) Reg 6%, (the late) Aubrey Phillips
The current survey also explored the assessment of UWI graduates by managers
and this was compared with the 1982 findings. Overall, the results show no significant
changes when compared to the earlier findings as shown in Table 7.
Ranking of UWI graduates by managers
Mean sample rankings on a I to 10 scale
competence 7 7
work attitudes 6 6
leadership 6 5
intelligence 7 8
ability to speak English 5 4
ability to write English 5 5
ability to learn and develop 8 8
deportment & attire 6 7
team work 6 6
The rating of UWI students falls marginally with respect to their ability to speak
English and in the area of leadership while it increases marginally in the area of intelli-
gence and deportment and attire.
Audience for University PR features
In assessing the impact of the UWl's Public Relations Office in its efforts to broaden
the audience assimilating specially packaged media features on UWl. those respondents
who could recall something read or listened to on the two UWI radio feature programmes
and on the UWl page in the Daily Gleaner were identified.
Table 8 sets out the findings.
Percentage of respondents able to identify something read or heard in
UWI media features
JBC FM RJR AM Daily Gleaner
managers 5% 34% 17%
professionals 8% 32% 28%
white collar (University educated) 2% 38% 24%
rest of white collar 1% 17% 20%
The RJR AM radio feature has the highest profile, followed by the Daily Gleaner,
with JBC IM occupying a consistent third rank behind these two for all sectors of the
sample. An important factor emerging from the survey is that some persons are assimilat-
ing information about UWI from more than one of these sources, which means that by
having multiple sources, the information spread is being reinforced, thereby strengthening
the UWI public image.
The UWI Newsletter circulated to staff has since had a new format. Staff members
were asked to react to the new format. Among academic staff, 52 per cent read the News-
letter regularly, and 48 per cent read it sometimes. Among non-academic staff, 30 per
cent are regular readers, 34 per cent are readers sometimes, and 36 per cent say they
never read it.
Among the academic readers of the Newsletter. 38 per cent find the new format
attractive, 7 per cent dislike it. 27 per cent contend that the content needs to touch base
with wider sources of information on developments in the faculties and departments, and
22 per cent are totally indifferent.
Among the non-academic staff. 30 per cent are indifferent, while 70 per cent like the
Some 83 per cent of the academics interviewed could recall detailed material read in
the Newsletter recently. For non-academic staff, the number was a much lower 50 per
cent, but both reflect a high level of assimilation of the material. This result compares
favourably with respondents' ability to recall items read in the Daily Gleaner within 48
hours prior to the interview. The following were the percentage of respondents able to
recall Gleaner items:
managers 45 per cent, professionals 52 per cent,
white collar (University educated) 42 per cent, rest of
white collar 30 per cent. Uwl academic staff 60 per
The survey attempted to appraise staff morale by identifying the number of res-
pondents actively seeking or interested in alternative employment to the one enjoyed at
UWI. We found a high level of job satisfaction among academics who complain bitterly
about remuneration but admit that they get a sense of fulfilment from their academic
work. Only 20 per cent of the academics expressed interest in seeking other employment.
This was in contrast to a high 64 per cent among non-academic staff that is either seeking
alternative employment or is very interested in such a prospect.
When asked about changes they would like to see at UWi,, the academic staff
identified the following:
items Percentage mentioning items
library and other facilities 34'
more research funds 17%
closer consultation between top
administrators and academics 15%
more freedom and autonomy in
departments to make decisions 14%
greater opportunities to serve the
more rigid admission criteria and
observance of high academic
The overall concerns relate to well-defined and well-established areas of academic
staff dissatisfactions, administration, decision-making, facilities, etc. as well as to aspira-
tions for upgrading the quality of the institution and its perceived relevance to the out-
side world that often are not articulated in communication channels that are clogged with
gripes about salaries and working conditions.
This updated survey has recorded some significant strengthening of the University's
image (both internal and external) as well as progress achieved by the Public Relations
Office in reaching a larger audience within the attentive publics in the effort to raise
information levels on UWI, Mona. We have inferred that there is a likely causal connec-
tion between these upgraded PR efforts and media features on UWI reflected in this
December 1985 survey when compared to the October-November 1982 survey.
We note, however, that among the more affluent and better educated within these
attentive publics interest in overseas education has grown because of a growing feeling
that UWI is falling behind in failing to sufficiently diversify and broaden its course and
training offerings, in keeping with the expanding demands of a constantly changing mar-
ket for skills and expertise. The result suggests that image building per se cannot address
the serious problem of the University failing to get the financial support needed to diver-
sify and expand in keeping with the surplus demand for the training it has to offer.
SCIENTIFIC LITERACY ITS MEANING
AND ITS IMPORTANCE FOR JAMAICA
The scientific explosion of the twentieth century in knowledge and in the effects of
that knowledge is a well-documented phenomenon. What is not known is where it will
take us. Whatever the direction, the fact is that mere survival calls for a measure of
scientific literacy till now undemanded of the general populace in Jamaica.
The problem of creating a citizenry literate in science is, therefore, one which con-
fronts all peoples, regardless of the level of industrialization within their societies. The
problem confronts Jamaica; it is important that the nation consider seriously the neces-
sity for ensuring that all its people, whatever the terminal level of their formal education,
have the opportunity to acquire a modicum of scientific knowledge and understanding,
and, more important, the desire to continue to build on this basic core continuously
Recognition of the utilitarian aspect of science is, of course, as old as science itself
but the deliberate wooing of science for the fulfilment of every man that is expressed
in the concern for universal scientific literacy is recent. Basically, the reasons for this
reflect an acknowledgement of the growing invasion of science and science-generated tech.
nology into every facet of life. If, however, this concern is to be translated into action,
and the term 'scientific literacy' is to move from the realm of the abstruse and idealistic,
so that acquisition of the characteristics it denotes can become a reality, then, in spite of
the recognized difficulty in so doing, one must attempt to define it with some precision
in order to accommodate practical planning for its accomplishment. In other words, such
definition must precede, in order to clarify, plans for reaching the goal, by pointing to the
implications for education and societal awareness embodied in the goal.
Defining Scientific Literacy
The term scientific literacy has gained prominence over the last two decades, and
its meaning has moved from an earlier narrow literal connotation, of ability to understand
scientific literature, to a much wider concept which has at its core the idea of science for
effective citizenship. This does not mean, however, that the element of fundamental
literacy can be disregarded, or even minimized, as it constitutes a basic premise for the
One approach to arriving at such a definition is to analyse opinions from a variety
of 'knowledgeable' sources, to identify common elements and themes, and to synthesize
from these a framework. In the present context, this in practice meant a thorough search
of issues of several journals (British, American and local) over several years, as well as
obtaining personal opinions from several Jamaicans. These included a group of practising
teachers from Jamaican secondary schools and from the University of the West Indies,
university undergraduates, and members of staff of the Scientific Research Council,
The journals used were Impact of Science on Society (1960-1977), Science (1960
-1977), Minerva (1962-1977), School Science Review (1960-1977) and Jamaica
The main elements from these sources, arranged to reflect the thinking of local and
non-local contributors, are given in Table 1'.
Main Elements Extracted from references to Scientific Literacy from local and Non-
a) Local Sources
1. Possession of scientific knowledge 8
2. Having an understanding of the basic principles of science 8
3. Application of scientific knowledge to solving personal everyday
4. Having the ability to analyse situations in a scientific manner;
having enquiry skills 4
5. Possession of an understanding of the language of science 3
6. Possession of an attitude of curiosity 2
7. Having an awareness of self and of the environment 2
8. Having the ability to communicate scientific ideas 2
9. Understanding scientific information at one's cognitive level 2
10. Having an intelligent approach to decision-making, fostering control
of one's environment: having the base for proper functioning as citizens
in a technological society 2
11. Having an awareness of science 1
12. Having the ability to manipulate scientific knowledge and understanding
to increase both 1
13. Having an appreciation of tne limits and potential of the sciences 1
14. Acquisition of the precise language of science and the ability to
analyse information accurately 1
15. Having a belief in a series of connections of cause and effect 1
b) Non-Local Sources
1. Development of the ability to apply scientific principles to the
solution of life problems, at a personal, neighbourhood and
national level, and to make value decisions
2. Possession of a general knowledge of and an understanding of
the nature of science its objectives and concepts
3. Acquisition of the basic language of conceptualisation and
communication needed for an appreciation and understanding
4. Development of the capacity for weighing evidence by
observation and making generalisations
5. Having an understanding of the language and content of science
6. Acquisition of a basic understanding of a broad range of
7. Having an awareness that the environment can be understood and
possessing the skills to apply this awareness
8. Having an appreciation of the intrinsic dignity of science
9. Having the ability to distinguish between science and technology
10. Developing a way of asking questions about the world
11. Having an appreciation of the value of science
In effect, the elements identified by both groups centre around five areas. They are
a) a knowledge of basic principles
b) familiarity with its language for purposes of communication and for conceptual-
c) an ability to analyse situations and apply problem-solving skills
d) the presence of an awareness of the environment
e) the existence of an appreciation of the value of science, of its potential and limits,
and its intrinsic dignity.
These findings concur with those of Pella et a! (1966) who, working in the United
States of America, in a similar, but wider search, identified the following referents to
These are an understanding of the
a) basic concepts in science
b) nature of science
c) ethics that control the scientist in his work
d) interrelationships of science and society
e) interrelationships of science and the humanities
f) differences between science and technology.
An examination of the details of this classification revealed that under (a) is subsumed
both knowledge and communication, under (b) problem-solving, under (c) awareness of
the environment, recognition of the limits and potential of science, and under (e) conno-
tations of the dignity of the discipline.
Fertita (1975) reports a more detailed and structured definition used for planning a
K-12 Unified Science Program implemented in Anne Arundel Country, Maryland, USA.3
This states that the scientifically literate person
1. should acquire knowledge which can be used to explain, predict, understand, and
control natural phenomena
2. should recognize that the meaning of science depends as much on its inquiry pro-
cess as on its conceptual scheme and his ability to engage in the processes of science
and to apply these processes in appropriate everyday situations
3. understands that science is one, but not the only, way of viewing natural phenomena,
and that even among the sciences there are different points of view
4. should acquire the attitudes of scientists and learn to apply these attitudes appro-
priately in daily experiences
5. should come to understand the various inter-relationships among science, techno-
logy and society and to perceive his personal involvement in these activities
6. appreciates the interaction of science and technology, recognizing that each reflects
as well as stimulates the course of special development, but that science and tech-
nology do not progress at equal rates
7. recognizes that knowledge in science evolves and that the knowledge of one genera-
tion may subsume, overturn, or complement previous knowledge
8. should learn and develop numerous useful psychomotor skills through the study of
9. acquires a variety of interests in and enthusiasm for science4 that may lead to voca-
tional and/or avocational interests (p. 66).
The main elements observed in the statements discussed earlier are again recognizable in
this definition, though they have been amplified.
The above definitions all capture the spirit of the concept of scientific literacy, and
are adequate for its delineation in general terms. They lack, however, the detailed specifi-
city which makes the model proposed by Showalter and his colleagues (1974)5 outlined
below, more conducive to measurement techniques and instructional considerations and,
therefore, to planning.
Showalter et al -see scientific literacy as having seven dimensions, which they have
expressed in terms of certain behaviours that would be characteristic of a person who is
so literate. In their view, the scientifically literate person
1. understands the nature of scientific knowledge (for example, its tentativeness, pro-
babilistic, empirical and holistic nature)
2. appropriately applies science concepts, principles, laws and theories in interact-
ing with his universe. (Such concepts include, for example, cause-effect, energy,
matter, equilibrium in other words, the content of science)
3. uses processes of science in solving problems, making decisions and furthering his
own understanding of the universe. (Examples of such processes are observing,
hypothesizing, interpreting data, predicting)
4. interacts with the various aspects of his universe in a way that is consistent with the
values that underlie science (for example, a longing to know and understand,
demand for verification, questioning all things, respect for logic)
5. understands and appreciates the joint enterprise of science and technology and the
inter-relationships of these with each other and with other aspects of society (for
.example, the impact of science and technology on the lives of people, the limita-
tions of S and T, S and T and natural resources)
6. has developed a richer, more satisfying, and more exciting view of the universe as a
result of his science education and continues to extend this education throughout
his life. (This would be revealed in one's interest in science, vocation, hobbies and
willingness to be a continuous learner)
7. has developed numerous manipulative skills associated with science and technology
(for example, the use of various measuring instruments).
Showalter, in a later work6 has added an eighth dimension the development of an
ability to think on the formal level as described by Piaget and others.
By any sort of measurement, each individual would be at different levels of fulfil-
ment on each of these dimensions. The term scientific literacy should, therefore, be
recognized as reflecting a continuum.
The pattern of implications in the term is, however, currently changing to a register
of 'science for functional literacy', or 'the place of function of science for a literate
citizenry'. Pella, speaking of the American society. uses the latter term.'7 He opines that
the place of science in literacy must be determined by its functions, which he gives as the
1. The knowledge formulated as empirical and theoretical concepts, empirical
laws, theoretical laws and protocols of development may be filed as a library
to which one may point (knowledge for the sake of knowledge)
2. The knowledge library may function in explaining natural objects and phe-
3. The knowledge library of science may function in predicting natural struc-
tures and phenomena
4. The knowledge library of science may be applied technologically (p. 100).
These functions. Pella states, put science for literacy in a human frame of reference and he
suggests that a literate citizenry would understand some of the knowledge library of
science, its origin, limitations and potentials, applications and regulatory principles.
In the same society. Sanford and Crawley (1977) draw attention to the interpreta-
tion of functional literacy advocated in the Adult Performance Level (APL) project
(University of Texas Austin), and the challenge it poses for science and science educa-
tion, especially at the high school level.8 This project. the authors state. 'is the largest and
most thorough study to date of functional literacy' (p.25). In its first phase it identified
and specified the basic requirements for adult living in terms of competency 'objectives'.
Large scale research resulted in the delineation of five categories, competency in which
covered the minimal needs for a successful adult life in that society. These were consumer
economics, occupational or occupationally related knowledge, community resources,
health, government and law. Within these categories, test items or 'performance indicators'
were designed for a national assessment instrument, destined to be used as a basis for high
school graduation and in adult education programmes, and, therefore, to be of consider-
able influence. Yet the entire instrument contains only ten science-related items, mainly
in the areas of health (for example, family planning, drugs) and consumer economics.
Thus, as Sanford and Crawley justly claim,
the APL study lends little support to the conten-
tion that ours is an age requiring a citizenry well
informed in the sciences (p. 26).
In other parts of the world, functional literacy denotes other things and con-
comitantly, the place of science in it. For example, Thomas and Kondo (1978) in a report
on a Unesco/liNDP-sponsored project in Iran, listed as the objectives for developing func-
tional literacy the following:9
1. to enable participants to get the basic skills in reading, writing, calculation
2. to understand modern science and technology and its application to agri-
3. to give traditional farmers the knowledge and skill to apply more productive
4. to introduce gradually into agriculture improved techniques.
In yet another project in rural India, priorities for functional literacy concentrated
on inculcating in the female population an appreciation of family planning and nutrition
Locally, the Jamaica Adult Literacy Foundation (JAMA.). in its efforts to make
the adult population functionally literate, has been less vocationally oriented.'0 Recog-
nized, however, in the themes which delimit its objectives for learner behaviour are -
home and family life, nutrition, food production and. more important, enquiry and
What then does science for functional literacy mean. since the requirements of the
latter change from society to society? Does it imply that the general goal for individual
scientific attainment within a society is set by the existing industrialized tone of that
society? Would a literal translation of relevance to a society be negating, or at least
limiting, its growth and development where in fact, the intention is to do the opposite?
A people's interpretation of growth and development will vary. Perry (1979),
speaking in the Caribbean, points out that the term might mean increased industrializa-
tion, or the achievement of economic and political independence, or improved standards
of living or better opportunities for education."" Whatever the interpretation of develop-
ment, the question still applies, as science is intimately linked with them all.
It would seem, therefore, that there is merit in retaining the term scientific literacy,
while recognizing that to enunciate what is adequate scientific literacy (even if one suc-
ceeds in defining this term) is well nigh impossible. If one acknowledges with Pella that
'all people cannot understand at the same level' in adopting this term, then one can
accommodate differences of emphases and levels among, and even within, societies, with-
out limiting the individual to an extrinsically determined position on the continuum of
Scientific Literacy and Jamaica
If a clarification of the meaning of scientific literacy is necessary to inform planning
to achieve it, delineation of those elements existing in the society which support the call
for such planning must be a parallel exercise if the populace is to be convinced of its
In the Jamaican context, one may examine this issue at two levels (1) at the
broad national level and (2) at the level of the educational system.
At the National Level
Stevan Dedijer (1978) in his paper 'What is Jamaica's IQ?' pointed out the impor-
tance to a nation of having what he terms an 'anticipatory intelligence', capable of the
early identification of situations threatening or advantageous to it from outside or
inside.12 This 'intelligence' is dependent, not so much on the genetic endowment of the
individual members of the society, but on the state of awareness of the populace, and the
existence of this 'intelligence' will, Dedijer claims, become increasingly important as
world systems become more interdependent. He exemplifies his statement by referring
to Jamaica's unpreparedness in the face of the devastating effect of lethal yellowing on
the coconut industry, and consequently on the whole productive fabric which hinged on
The present writer supports Dedijer's contention concerning the role of this charac-
teristic. and submits that one measure of this 'anticipatory intelligence' in a society is the
level of scientific literacy obtaining therein.
The increasing significance of science and technology in the policy decisions of
governments makes it imperative that the level of scientific literacy of citizens be raised.
As Goodlad (1973) puts it, "in a democracy, the policy of government is everybody's
Value decisions as to the direction of science, and economic decisions involving the
allocation of scarce funds, especially as these involve short-term as against long-term
benefits, should not be the sole responsibility of the policy-makers and their technical
advisers. The public should be able to participate in these decisions, not only its more
informed members, but the 'ordinary' citizen as well who thus needs to possess some
understanding of, and exposure to, science.
Associated with the above, is the necessity to overcome the prevalence of supersti-
tious explanations for natural phenomena, especially as these concern illness and/or
childbirth, and the absolute faith in simplistic answers. A swollen arthritic knee has been
'touched by a duppy', and recourse for relief is the 'balm yard', not the doctor. A baby is
born deformed because its mother 'looked on' another deformed person, or a non-human
animal during pregnancy. Fertilizers cause yams to have a different (and unpopular)
The non-questioning approach to everyday problems even amongst the highly
educated in science, needs to be queried, understood, and attempts made to correct this.
Why, for example, would a skilled medical practitioner, who constantly applies prob-
lem-solving techniques to medical questions, assume, without first even examining the
plug on the unit, that a faulty electrical household appliance needs to be replaced? Is it
that even where the educational system caters to science, it is often not employing the
methods that result in permanent transfer of basic attitudes to life situations?
There exists in the society a multiplicity of nutritional practices, largely centred
around fertility and infant nutrition, which continue to exacerbate the malnutrition
and consequent loss of potential created by poverty. The following are a few of the fads
and superstitions which generate these practices:
'Eggs will make babies cluck like hens'
'If babies drink goat's milk, they will grow with a big forehead'
'Young babies under eighteen months should not get any food after noon'
'Milk, eggs, tomatoes and green vegetables should not be eaten by the preg-
nant woman or they will make the baby too big'
'Liver makes the baby's tongue helvy'.14
Belief in this type of statement can only result in lowered protein and mineral
content in the diet of the infant or expectant mother at the very stages at which
adequacy of these is especially important.
The wanton waste of our soil resources and the problems of erosion caused by
uninformed agricultural practices. the cutting of roads (for industrial purposes and for
housing developments) which are often left unsealed and uncared for, so that they are
constantly scoured by the rains, need to be in the nation's consciousness. A new threat in
the face of the rising cost of fuel for cooking, is the increased destruction of hillside
forest trees for the burning of charcoal without any precautions for stemming erosion or
concomitant provisions for refoieslation.
Of very topical importance is the necessity to face realistically the crucial need to
conserve energy supplies. Efforts by any government to find solutions will have little
effect unless the public adopts an approach to the problem whereby there is a deliberate,
conscious elimination of waste, and choice of energy-saving alternatives.
The real problem of development, as Jamaica is now so painfully recognizing, is
not so much to increase production, as to increase the capacity to produce, a capacity
which is really inherent in people. It arises out of their capacity to control their environ-
ment because they have the training and confidence to solve the problems they encounter
- an attribute which distinguishes the scientifically literate.
A pre-requisite for this control of the environment is the ability of the trained
scientific specialists in the society to adapt foreign technologies to local needs, and to
innovate. As Coke (1977) points out. however, the support of the community at large
must be recruited for these goals. Implicit in the expectation of this support is the
existence within the community of a certain awareness of science and of its potential.
All the foregoing imply that if Jamaica is to move forward into the twenty-first
century with any confidence and hope of a better way of life for its citizens, then these
citizens must acquire the questioning and problem-solving outlook which is the epitome
of the scientifically literate individual. The 'dependent' mentality engendered by genera-
tions of subordination to others needs to be broken, and replaced by a positive reaction
and response to life problems which are hardly possible without some understanding of
At the Level of the Educational System
The common thread running through the preceding discussion is that problems
exist, the solutions to which will be influenced considerably by the contribution an
informed and aware citizenry can make. This. by implication, has consequences for the
educational process, as has already been suggested.
Toffler (1970) expresses the opinion that the prime objective of education must
be to increase the individual's 'cope-ability', the speed and economy with which he can
adapt to continual change; the 'contemporary individual is going to have to cope with the
equivalent of millenia of change within the compressed span of a lifetime'16 (p. 376).
This, he argues, means that children must learn not only to understand the past and the
present, but to make repeated. probabilistic and long-range assumptions about the future.
Whether or not one agrees with Toffler as to the prime objective of education, there can
be no doubt that, in the present technological age, one important objective of education
must be the development of this 'cope-ability'.
The knowledge of basic principles and the investigative and problem-solving skills
which must be imparted in any science education programme are a ready basic fabric on
which to build this attribute. Imparting these skills to promote their transference to real
life situations has implications for teaching methodology as well as subject content.
Besides, if, as argued above, the populace must be able to participate in national
decisions, then the layman must, as Goodlad argues, have the confidence to ask 'why'
a certain piece of scientific work is being carried out. Such confidence, he states, is likely
to come from some exposure to the purposes and practice of science. Some of the deci-
sions to which reference is made will be among the hardest that have ever faced the
country -and, on a wider scale, the entire world. It is not unreasonable to regard science
classes as one possible forum for preparing citizens to make these decisions, since many
of the latter will deal with science.
Warren (1968) points to two cultural factors which might hamper Jamaican chil-
dren in the use they might make of the experiences provided in school science classes,
even granted the more obvious hurdles of sufficiency of schools and equipment, and
teacher competency are overcome.17 The accurate analysis of information, on which
science relies, demands a precision of language which these children lack. Further. the
whole tone of the country is unscientific and un-technical. and the societal pressures
towards improvement are not evident.
The first of these two factors has implications for language education, which
Warren is. in fact, suggesting has consequences for science education, thereby supporting
the claim made earlier in this discussion that fundamental literacy forms a basic premise
for the wider concept of scientific literacy. The second recognizes the low level of scienti-
fic literacy existing in the country and implies that if school programmes are to accom-
plish hoped-for results then they should be supported by adult programmes, for example,
through the mass media.
The Ministry of Education in its stated policy gives unqualified recognition to, and
support for, the enhancement of scientific literacy. In the preface to its official outline
syllabus for primary science in the schools, it states that science education has far wider
implications for Jamaica than the provision of scientists to fill its needs.
The educational system must work to produce a state
of scientific literacy to make the ordinary citizen
aware of. and able to appreciate. modern scientific
development as it affects the community.18
The statement goes on to list the acquisition of basic scientific concepts, the development
of the individual through the cultivation of mental and manipulative skills, of attitudes of
enquiry and willingness to co-operate in the search for knowledge, and of an intelligent
awareness of the environment and man's place in it. as part and parcel of this attainment
of scientific literacy. Thus the onus is put squarely on the educational system to provide
throughout its entirety the sort of programme which will result in the realization of this
state of literacy.
It is as well, however, to stress again that 'entirety' here cannot connote merely the
formal system. Non-formal programmes must so bombard the nation's consciousness that
those outside the formal system are not excluded. While the young are being trained for
future roles., the adults of the present have to take decisions now. for which they need to
The problem of raising the level of scientific literacy in the Jamaican society needs
to be faced in a positive and structured way. At this time in the nation's history, the insti-
tution, for the first time. of a separate ministry with responsibility for the environment.
science and technology may be interpreted as tacit recognition of the need to address this
problem. a need urgently emphasized by the necessity to ensure in the society a growing
concern for the protection and improvement of the total environment.
Also for the first time, there is to be a formalized national policy on science and
technology. It is an opportune time to take stock, to re-examine and clarify the nation's
goals and priorities for science education in its widest sense, as this must surely be the
foundation on which any hope for the improvement of scientific literacy must rest.
In the final analysis, this hope will only be realized if science is allowed to take its
place beside the creative arts and religion as being responsible for illuminating and enrich-
ing the fields of human experience, and in becoming a part of a country's cultural tradi-
*This article was submitted in Febnrary 1984.
1. Glasgow, Joyce. 'Scientific Literacy in a Selected Sample of Jamican Grade Nine Students from
New Secondary and All Age Schools', unpublished Ph.D. Thesis University of the West Indies,
2. Pella. Milton. O'Hearn T.. Gale. Calvin W.. 'Referents to Scientific Literacy' in Journal of
Research in Science Teaching. Volume 4 (1966) pp. 199 -208.
3. I ertita, Neal V.. 'A K-12 Unified Science Approach', in School Science and Mathematics, Vol.
XXV, No. 1 (1975) pp. 65- 69.
4. I phases are mine.
5. Showalter, Victor. "What is Unified Science Education?., in Prism II, Vol. 2. No. 3 (1974,
Spring) and No. 4 (Summer. 1974).
6. Show-alter, Victor. 'The Case for Teaching Science as a Unity', in Integrated Science Worldwide,
1978 the International Council for Science I.ducation (ICASE) pp. 29-42.
7. Pella. Milton 0.. 'The Place or Iunction of Science for a Literate Citizenrv'. in Science Educa-
tion. 60 (10). (1976) pp. 97 '101.
8. Sanford,. Julie P.: Crawley. I rank, L.. 'The Iorum', in The Science Teacher, Vol. 44. No. 4
(1977) pp. 25 26.
9. Thomas. I rcdcrick: Kondo. Allan K.. '"Towards Scientific Literacy a Core Curriculum for
Adult Literacy and Literacy Teachers', (1979) IERIC Document 163425.
10. JAMAL I oundalion. Objectives of Adult Learner Behaviour, 1973. unpublished.
11. Perry. Clarence. 'Science education and Development and its Role in a Developing Country' in
Science Education for Progress: A Caribbean Perspective. (1979) ICASL.
12. Dedijer, Stevan, 'What is Jamaica's IQ?' a report to 42 Jamaicans for the 1979 United Nations
Conference on Science. Technology and Development.
13. (oodlad. J.S.R.. Science for Non-Scientists. O\ford University Press. O\ford. 1973.
14. Campbell. Sadie. 'I olklore and I ood Habits' in Cajanus. Vol. 8. No. 4 (1975) pp. 223-236.
Miss (ampbell was at the time. Principal Scientific Officer, I ood and Nutrition, The Scienti-
hic search Council. Jamaica.
15. (oke, Lloyd. Editorial. West Indian Science and Technology. Vol. 2 No. 1 (1977).
16. ToflIer. Alvin. Future Shock. New York. Random House. 1970.
17. Warren Keith, 'Two Tin Lids and a Yard of String', in Jamaica Journal, Volume 2. No. 2,
(1968) pp. 24- 29.
18. 'The Role of Science Education in the National Goals' in The Primary Science Syllabus, Cur-
riculutm Development Thrust, (CDT), Ministry of I education. Jamaica, c. 1970.
James L. Watson (ed.), Between Two Cultures Migrants and Minorities in Britain,
Oxford, Basil Blackwell. 1977, 388 pp.
Migration affects all aspects of daily life in the Caribbean area yet there has been little
study of it done in our institutions of higher learning as well as by social scientists living
and working in the Caribbean region. On the other hand. there has been a great deal of in-
terest generated on migration in the metropolitan countries. It is therefore necessary for us
to follow closely publications originating from there not only because the studies include
data on expatriate Caribbean-born peoples, but also because they provide analytical
frameworks that we may test in our own studies. From this regard, the volume Between
Two Cultures migrants and minorities in Britain edited by James L. Watson is a wel-
come contribution to students of migration in this area.
Between Two Cultures was published in 1977. It includes eleven case studies done
by twelve social anthropologists during the late 1960s and early 1970s. They did the
field-work in London and other British cities as well as in rural communities in parts of
Jamaica, India, Pakistan. Montserrat, Italy, Poland, and Cyprus. The field work was not
done as a team project. Rather the collection of ethnographies stands as a concurrence of
research interests. Hence, the volume is a veritable tour de force on migration as observed
by different eyes during the critical period of the 1960s and 1970s, when it was being
debated heatedly in the face of continued arrivals in Britain.
As Watson states in his introductory chapter, anthropologists are notorious
mavericks even when they are working on common issues. The studies are well-done, des-
criptive narratives within the analytic framework drawn by the authors. Instead of
summarizing each study and highlighting its main contributions. I have isolated some
main themes that recur in the studies and bring out specific examples to underpin my
analysis. The following are main points that the volume places in the forefront of migra-
(1) the push-pull factors that result in people from different countries coming to
(2) the methods of social interaction among the migrants and with the British
(3) the social situation of the return migrant.
The push-pull factors
The studies show that the push-pull factors are economic in sterns of people, who
suffer conditions of poverty at home. leaving for wage labour opportunities in Britain.
This situation obtains in almost all the studies, especially those on migrants from the
Commonwealth. People may also leave to acquire educational qualifications, such as in
Goody and Groothues study of West Africans (pp. 151 180). Migration can be the
outcome of a pattern where for years people have travelled to Britain for seasonal wage
labour, some of them gradually remaining for longer periods and becoming immigrants,
cf. Palmer's study on the Italians (pp. 242-268). Finally, war conditions expel people
from their home to re-settle as exiles in Britain, as seen in Patterson's study on the Poles
The citizens of several former British colonies have always suffered conditions of
extreme poverty due to the shortage of land. jobs. and opportunities for upward social
mobility. Thus, Philpott (p. 92) shows that the unavailability of land was especially acute
in Montserrat, where from the period of emancipation peasants have not been able to
wrest ownership from the small group of elite landowners. This is a major reason for
Montserrat sending a disproportionately larger number of her sons and daughters overseas
than any other Caribbean island.
Coinciding with the deprived conditions in the colonies, there was a policy of the
imperialists to move colonial subjects from one part of the empire to another, and even
to bring them to Britain, as sources of cheap labour during periods of high demand. For
example, during the last century, the British recruited Sikhs as merchant seamen (pp.
23-24). This practice was intensified during the two world wars when others, including
Pakistani Mirpuris (pp. 64-66) and West Indians. were also recruited into the armed
forces and as labourers in Britain.
The trickle of immigrants swelled into huge waves during the 1950s and 1960s as
British industry developed its postwar momentum. Hundreds of thousands of men and
women came from throughout the Commonwealth and other areas. The Commonwealth
Immigration Act of 1962 imposed restrictions on the mass arrivals of potential labourers
from the Commonwealth. Those who are still accepted come through the pattern of
chain migration, being sent for by certain categories of already settled immigrants.
The authors quote numbers of immigrants from their study groups, cautioning that
their figures are only estimates due to the problem of identification in the census. It was
estimated in 1966 that there were 273,800 Jamaicans including their descendants born in
England (p. 120). Also, in 1966 there were about 140,000 Cypriots resident in Britain
(p. 272). Khan estimated that in the early 1970s Bradford had a population of 300,000,
about 30,000 of whom were Pakistanis (p. 57). Between 1960 and 1970, 4,000 to 5,000
Montserratians moved to Britain (p. 96). In 1960. there were about 135,000 Poles
One of the results of British colonialism was to instil among the subjects a strong
emulation for things British. Education in Britain became the sine qua non of passage to
higher positions in the colonial civil service. The pursuit of postsecondary level education
is another push-pull factor highlighted in the volume as generating migration. Goody and
Groothues (pp. 151 -180) presented a case study of West African students living in Lon-
don with their wives and young children. The care and maintenance of pre-school children
becomes problematic especially when both parents may be studying and/or working. One
solution is for the Africans to work out fosterage arrangements with British families for
their children. The authors suggest that the parents see such fosterage as a means of the
children becoming socialized in British ways. It is a throwback to the apprentice-fosterage
system found in African societies where children are sent to live with the families of
knowledgeable men to learn a skill.
War is a major source of social dislocation as Sheila Patterson shows in her study
(pp. 214-241) on Polish re-settlement in Britain. Originally coming as a government-in-
exile during World War II. the Poles have downplayed their goal to return to liberate their
country and have become increasingly integrated into British society. But they take great
pride in maintaining aspects of their cultural identity. It takes different forms, including
several voluntary groups engaging in such ethnic activities as teaching the language, folk
dances, and maintaining contacts with mainland Poles.
Migration, however, may not result from major interventions into people's life, as
we have seen in the previous examples. Rather, it may come as part of a tradition of sea-
sonal wage labour. Palmer's study (pp. 242-268) shows that northern Italians have long
travelled to countries in northern Europe to seek employment during the long winter
months. Gradually, the members of a parish, with the pseudonym Abbazzia, have become
settled in London where they have established an economic niche for themselves in the
field of catering. In the early 1960s there were four times as many Abbazzininans in Lon-
don as in their home parish.
Methods of Social Interaction
One of the main contributions of the volume is in examining the state of immi-
grants 'between two cultures' as the title suggests. Generally, the authors discard the
notion of assimilation-integration as an inevitable, sequential process often found in the
literature on migration. Rather, their focus is on the dialectical relationship that exists
between the immigrants and the host society, brought out forcefully in the Ballards'
conceptual design (p. 53). On the one hand, the immigrants have their own internal pre-
ferences on everything from food to marriage customs. On the other hand, the host
society exercises constraints on their behaviour limiting the choices available to them.
What results from this process is a new creolized (Foner, p. 120) socio-culture that is
neither typically British nor typically characteristic of that found in the immigrant home
The patterns of social interaction among the immigrants are guided by three forces
-social encapsulation, participation in voluntary organizations, and maintaining a
Social encapsulation refers to the immigrants minimizing their interactions with the
British as much as possible while intensifying those among themselves or with other immi-
grant groups. They live in large cities, mostly London, whose cosmopolitan character
insulates them from the British while allowing them the opportunity to take over
entire neighborhoods for themselves. In such neighborhoods, they establish communi-
ties over the years that replicate the social proximity in their home countries. Thus, West
Indians from the same islands tend to live near each other, while the Mirpuris re-create
Pakistani village groupings in Bradford. Many become home owners and follow' the Bri-
tish as they move to other areas with increased social mobility. Such moves come after
spending years in Britain and mark a process of transition from the clutches of social
The case of maintaining interpersonal and group interaction is enhanced by living
in geographical proximity. Voluntary organizations are a regular feature found among all
immigrant groups. They serve a dual objective to promote solidarity among the immi-
grants and to provide assistance to the home communities. Taking their organizational
format from the nature of groupings in their home countries, these organizations can
become ridden by factionalism. Examples are seen among South Asians who originate
from rural corporate groups based on caste and/or extended kinship systems that derive
their strength from the ownership of village lands. With increased numbers and altering
demands from life in Britain, the allegiance to sectional leaders may shift over time
accompanied bysegmentary subdivisions among groups.
The binding strength of homeward ties is felt strongly among migrants. There is an
underlying feeling of eventually returning home. to which Philpott refers as a 'migrant
ideology'. It is strengthened by remittances, visits, the exchange of news received from
relatives, and the incurring of capital investment in houses and small businesses for
retirement. In fact, the number of those who actually return remains relatively small.
Family obligations and other long-term commitments in Britain effectively limit the
chances of returning to the home countries. Besides, the sad stories of return migrants
who re-migrate place life in Britain in opposition to what it actually is "back home".
However, the possibility of returning some day as remote as it gradually becomes -
remains a basic orientation for the social interaction of most immigrants.
Among themselves they may be fellow Jamaicans, Pakistanis. and Cypriots. but
to the British they are primarily immigrants who may be more or less settled in Bri-
tish communities. There is less tolerance toward immigrants in Britain unlike the situa-
tion in Canada, the United States, and Australia. which have been inhabited tradi-
tionally by immigrants. The case studies show that British behaviour responds to cer-
tain indices which include skin colour, the level of institutional support extended to the
immigrants, and the measures the immigrants themselves adopt to meet the expectations
of the host society.
There is rampant racism against the "coloured" immigrants, namely those from
South Asia and the West Indies. The case studies document several examples. No doubt
they are reflected from the period when the studies were done, the 1960s and 1970s,
when there was strong public opinion that the waves of incoming "coloured" should be
positively stemmed before they inundated the British isles. The extent of such anti-
pathy is found even among the immigrants themselves. Thus, the Turkish Cypriots are
more tolerant of the Pakistanis than of the Africans and West Indians, partly because the
Pakistanis are less black (p. 326).
The British, however, have bent over backwards to accommodate some immigrants,
the Poles being the most significant beneficiaries. The British government established a
strong institutional framework to bring this about. It started with the formal recognition
of the Polish Government-in-exile in London during World War II. As its bureaucratic
structure gradually became demobilized after the war, the British government took over
most of the functions directed toward Polish resettlement. Organizations such as the
European Volunteer Workers of Polish nationality, the Polish Resettlement Corps, the
Association of Polish ex-combatants, and the Federation of Poles in Britain were sup-
ported morally and financially through the public purse to speed the process of integra-
tion into British social life. For example, between 1947 and 1960 over 10,000 younger
Poles received grants for higher technical education enabling them to obtain professional
qualification in Britain.
Between the two extremes of overt racism and extensive institutional support the
reaction of British society covers a wide range. However, there is great pressure on the
immigrants to meet the expectations of the host society, thereby acquiring some measure
of acceptance. The response has been to adopt forms of economic specialization. Cater-
ing is an attractive field for the Chinese and Italians, many being the owners of their bus-
inesses. Others have used the opportunities of higher education to attain the goals of
self-employment and/or social prestige. Finally, the dyadic ties that individuals form
over time, especially through intermarriage, relationships formed at the work-place and
business associations, help to bridge the gap between immigrants and members of the
The authors use the concepts of ethnicity and class to analyse the contradictions
that befall immigrants as they find themselves between two cultures. All the case studies
cover these two main points. Those by the Ballards, Patterson. Constantinides, and
Ladbury focus on ethnicity: and those by Philpott and Foner on class.
The Sikhs and Pakistani Mirpuris assert their ethnicity partly as an outgrowth of
their social encapsulation and partly as a reaction to racism. In both cases, it was the men
who came first. They lived in all-men boarding houses under austere conditions as they
sent cash remittances to their villages. With the arrival of their families, their frame of
reference shifted from their home villages to the maintaining of self-sufficient com-
munities in London and Bradford. The celebration of life cycle rituals took precedence
complete with gift-giving and the staging of expensive marriage ceremonies. The Ballards
mention a father spending up to 2,000 at the marriage of a daughter (p. 36).
Some elements of traditional domestic practices were re-introduced with greater
severity in Britain among the Mirpuris. Thus, the practice of purdah among women (sep-
aration from the menfolk in Moslem society emphasized by the wearing of special gar-
ments) became common. The improved financial position and the restrictive nature of
urban living limited the movement of women more than it had been in their home village
There is found among second generation South Asians a mass movement toward
the re-affirmation of an over-arching ethnicity that cuts across nationalities. This stems
from the racism in Britain, where they have to build their own lives in contrast to their
parents who could base their status differentiation on the narrow constraints of caste
and their former village social structure. Foner and Philpott make similar observations
about second and third generation West Indians, who emphasize blackness as an ethnic
marker. Through the use of symbols, such as reggae music and Black Power slogans,
they demonstrate defiance to the dominant British white culture.
On the other hand, the Poles depict a group where ethnicity is no longer used as a
'defence mechanism' to the expression of racism from the host society. Rather it
becomes an aspect of cherishing cultural survivals to demonstrate that a group's folk
culture is integrated into its complete worldview. Voluntary organizations hold week-
end lessons on Polish music, language, and dance. Rewards are given to sports groups
based on their ability to speak Polish.
As a highly class conscious society, the British place immigrants into categories
within their rigid class structure. Most of the groups in the volume originated in rural
communities and became unskilled or semi-skilled workers on their arrival, holding jobs
not wanted by the British. The case of Jamaicans shows how black West Indians are
being caught within the constraints of a socioeconomic system that offers increasingly
dim opportunities for upward social mobility. Jamaican men concentrate in lower
class blue collar jobs while the women are domestics or work in clothing factories.
Foner adds. "But aside from nursing, only a very few Jamaicans in Britain occupy pro-
fessional, clerical or managerial occupations" (p. 131). At home Jamaicans have a high
regard for education as a stepping stone for moving away from rural poverty. In Bri-
tain, they find that access to secondary education is easier. However, it does not nece-
ssarily qualify them for higher paid positions. It is considerably more difficult to enter
into postsecondary institutions that provide qualifications for the professions. This,
along with the dire conditions of urban poverty, is perpetuating a self-fulfilling prophecy
where the opportunities for self-improvement are seen as not being possible for blacks
in Britain. The outcome is that there is developing a permanent black inner city sub-
class, a process well-described for American blacks.
A third aspect of the immigrant experience covered in the volume is his social
relations on returning to his home society. There is less emphasis on it compared to that
on the push-pull factors that bring migrants and their social interactions within Britain.
Appropriate references are found in the studies by Foner. Palmer, and Watson. Briefly,
the theoretical framework follows that of the migrant being caught between two
cultures this lime his own creolized culture adopted in Britain and that of his home
Originally it was built into the 'migrant ideology' that the men would return to
re-establish their socio-economic position at home. Thus. traditionally it was the sons of
the more wealthy villagers who were the first to come. This situation is found among the
South Asians and the Italians. On returning, the men invested in land, thereby enhancing
the family prestige. As we have seen, most immigrants gradually become settled in
Britain and confine their interactions with home communities to remittances and infre-
quent visits. However. some do return. And what patterns have been discerned in their
Authors repeat the finding that the return immigrant is not necessarily a modern-
izing element in his community. This encounters the assumption that coming from the
bright lights of London, the returnee would generate forces of rapid social change at
home. Watson describes returning restaurant workers as clinging to traditional values
in their Hong Kong village. This steins from the fact that. like so many other return
migrants in other countries, they hold more steadfastly to values that were current
when they left twenty or more years before than to those which are current. Secondly,
their own village San Tin has become so dependent on remittances that it no longer main-
tains its own economic activities. Unlike the neighboring villages whose population works
within the competitive daily life of Hong Kong, San Tin is an island with little of its
own growth being generated locally. In other words, it has become withdrawn from
the Ilong Kong socio-economy and adapts the pace of a retirement community for
In the case of San Tin. we see a village whose lack of indigenous growth results
in a conservatism that coincides with the traditional values of the returnees themselves.
In Abbazzia, a parish in northern Italy that has sent more of its sons and daughters to
London than those remaining at home, there is a different set of circumstances affecting
the returnee. There is a discordance in values between the returnees and their aging
relatives not only on social life but also on the use of land. The inglesi, as the returnees
are known, are the butt of stories of immoral conduct and are reviled for their conspicu-
ous display of wealth by the residents. They are regarded as being not true villagers, the
paesani. The returnees are no longer investing in Abbazzia but in the plains and on the
coast further away. Palmer adds that there is even a process of return repatriation to
other parts of Italy similar to the chain migration to Britain, which had occurred earlier.
The conclusion on return migrants that seems to emanate from the relatively
little attention given to them in the volume is the following: Immigrants are renowned
for maintaining relationship with their home societies through material exchange,
which can include investment in real estate and small business. However. their physical
presence as returnees brings into sharp focus their own socio-cultural differences that
they have accumulated over the years. Concurrently. their home communities have
also changed considerably from what they used to be. making entry adjustments
extremely difficult. The changes on either side can make unrealistic the expectation that
both hold about each other. This results in an alienation similar to that observed
between the London-based and home-based Abbazzinians. No doubt, more studies
will add a great deal to this paradigm as we in the Caribbean area study our own
A Contribution to the Anthropology of Migration
Between Two Cultures is a collection of ethnographies -the work of anthro-
pologists who collect primary data through techniques including that notable standby,
participant observation. All the researchers spend months with informants in Britain
as well as in their home countries, which is a most unusual occurrence in the study
of migration. In doing so they acquired an empathy to the dual situation of migrants that
is necessary in telling the story of migration not so much as the mass movement from
one part of the globe to the other, but more as the forming of social ties within the
cultural environment where men and women find themselves.
There is a great deal of descriptive narrative in each study that can be used in
cross-cultural comparison. The researcher in the Caribbean, for example, can find data
in the studies on Poles, Cypriots, and Italians, that can corroborate or challenge what he
uncovers. For example, it would be interesting to draw parallels with the experiences
of immigrants from the Eastern Caribbean who have taken up residence in Trinidad
or with those of Central American refugee/immigrants who are now re-settling in
Between Two Cultures marks a watershed in the study of anthropology among
Third World people. Long recognized as an invaluable source of information on the
study of primitives in their own setting, anthropology has also been making giant strides
in such fields as urban studies. economic development, and migration. To these it brings
its own research design that uses an holistic approach to human phenomena showing the
linkages that may elude the eye of the casual observer. For example. Goody and
Groothues have to be highly commended for the skilful way in which they weave together
the following topics the quest for education by West Africans, child fosterage in tradi-
tional societies, together with the judicial and public reaction of the British to Africans
leaving their children with whites. Separately they appear to be unrelated but together
they show the wide range in the experiences of West African students as they strive to
achieve their educational qualifications in Britain. Benefits from the use of the holistic
method have added significantly to the wealth of information to be found in each of the
The weaknesses I observed in the volume arise more from the format of presenta-
tion. I should mention in passing that in most cases the authors could have taken more
time to develop their analytic framework. The case study where I found this most want-
ing was in that by Constantinides. She could have taken more time to develop her con-
cept of the Greek Cypriots as a "moral community" (p. 297).
There was a pressing need for a comprehensive treatment of all the data in a sepa-
rate paper to tie together some of the loose ends in the analysis. Such a paper could, for
example, include a map showing where the immigrants originate and where in Britain
they congregate. Watson's paper in the beginning did not sufficiently introduce the case
studies, nor did it provide a much-needed synthesis.
My objective in this review article has been to present to the reader in the Carib-
bean area what I think are some of the main contributions in this volume to the study of
migration a field that will remain of vital interest to us.
JOSEPH O. PALACIO
THE PAN-AFRICAN INTELLIGENTSIA IN WEST
AFRICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: A REVIEW ARTICLE
This is a review of The Social and Policital Thought of the Colonial Intelligentsia
by John G. LaGuerre (Mona. Jamaica: Institute of Social and Economic Research, Uni-
versity of the West Indies. 1982). The book is a brief but analytical and penetrating study
of the ideological reaction of the colonial intelligentsia -- more accurately speaking the
Pan-African intelligentsia to major issues, ideas and policies that were associated with
British Colonial rule. In this book, John G. LaGuerre has carefully examined, on a
comparative basis, social and political thoughts of three important personalities namely,
J. E. Casely-Hayford, George Padmore and C. L. R. James. While Hayford came from the
Gold Coast. now Ghana in West Africa. Padmore and James were from Trinidad in the
Caribbean/West Indies. also called 'New World'. One of the major reasons, I presume, for
selecting these three thinkers as the subject matter of the book is that their "careers
spanned phases in the evolution of political thought in the colonies." In other words.
"in many ways" they were "representative of successive waves of political theorizing."
And, above all, they represented. LaGuerre holds, "three strands in the social and
political thought of the Third World" or, to be more specific, of Africa and the 'New
World'. These strands, in fact. provide us with a complete picture of the multidimensional
ramifications of the various stages of the development and of the changing pattern of Pan
Africanism. The thinkers under review in the book "reflected and acted upon the socie-
ties of their time." They addressed themselves to, as LaGuerre observes, "a great deal of
issues and controversies of their time" and were "representative of wider trends and ten-
dencies." In the book LaGuerre gives an analytical and comparative account of the
"issues that fired them", their experiences with colonial rule and their reactions to and
perceptions of that expcicence.
The issues, ideas and problems associated with an area or with a particular period of
time in history cannot be grasped, much less evaluated or examined, without a corres-
ponding knowledge of the ecological factors. Every philosopher or thinker is always a
product of his time and, therefore, any attempt to examine his thoughts and ideas should
be made with reference to the environment or context within which he has been social-
ized. A skilful and perceptive social scientist cannot but take into account the importance
and far-reaching implications of environment in any social science research. And Dr
LaGuerre, being a keen observer and a competent researcher, is no exception. Unlike
many writers on social or political thought. LaGuerre has carefully examined the socio-
cultural influences and background that played a very decisive role in shaping and
moulding the thinking process of the three intellectuals under review. His successful
effort to relate the ideas and issues of the time to existing factors and conditions has
made the book interesting reading both for social scientists and the general reader. He
notes that a widely differing set of circumstances influenced the quality and content of
the responses of the three thinkers to colonial rule. He also argues that the "psychological
and sociological consequences of imperfect integration into the colonial society" led to
many crises, conflicting claims and demands and critiques, and that "the metropolitan
world became the centre of gravity". All these factors accounted for. in varying degrees.
the ambivalence in the social and political thought of those who reflected on colonial rule.
The focus of attention of most of the colonial thinkers with direct or indirect link
with. or roots in. Africa was on Pan-Africanism which was, as LaGuerre explains. "a
blanket term to represent the aspirations and visions of black intelligentsia as a whole. It
subsumed ideas concerning race. culture. socialism and conceptions of society." It signi-
fied in its earliest formulations "common grievances. common kinship. racial dignity, a
sense of community based on culture and a vision of united Africa." LaGuerre has
identified three interesting common features of their thought: firstly. they "subscribed
with varying degrees of emphasis to conceptions of cultural affinities binding African
peoples of African descent on three continents." Secondly. they were "concerned with
varying degrees of emphasis with justifying and affirming the traditional values of Africa
against the claims of European superiority." And thirdly, they were "united in their criti-
cisms of the concepts and ideologies of colonial power."
LaGuerre argues that the intelligentsia were all "fired by questions of race" as well
as by "the incipient distinctions" maintained by colonial rulers. However, while one
school of thought held that 'race' was the principal issue or factor in the colonial context
resulting in a superior-inferior relationship between metropole and colony. the other
school was of the opinion that the colonial question or imperialism was. above all, an
economic question. They held that the crisis of capitalism in developed countries resulted
in a scramble for colonies and "continued to dominate relationships between 'white.' and
'black'." Hence they reacted in a different way so far as 'race' was concerned. However, it
should be noted that according to LaGuerre. it is "difficult to prove where economics
begin and 'race' takes over. Both factors intermingle and become enmeshed with the
other." (sic) As a result, there was increasing conflict between class and racial interpreta-
tions of the problems of colonial rule.
The author of the book under review tells us that the issues that played an impor-
tant role in influencing the ideological responses of early Pan-African intelligentsia and
fired their imaginations were the issues of power and of subordination. No doubt. they
wanted greater self-government, a share in higher official positions, parity of treatment
and ultimate assimilation into the European world. Both West Africa and the 'New World'
Pan-Africanists made such claims and felt that the Africans and the people of African
descent all over the world suffered humiliation and endured discrimination. However,
while they agreed on some matters, they also disagreed in other issues. What were the
differences? LaGuerre opines that the 'New World' Pan-Africanists held that "they were
more 'evolved' than the people of Africa and that in some cases they were superior to
them. "The criteria of evaluation in this case was metropolitan." But the West African
Pan-Africanists who did not agree with such views claimed that in "any movement of
regeneration Africa was the natural leader" and opposed "some of the more violent
approaches" advocated by their counterparts in the 'New World' ". The differences in
attitudes and perspectives between these two groups of Pan-Africanists. as LaGuerre aptly
and forcefully argues. "was to be of capital importance in their approach to what was
considered an international problem. The more Marxist-oriented of the New World intel-
lectuals regarded the West African as lacking in 'consciousness': yet others regarded them
as falling behind in "cultural attainment." On the other hand, LaGuerre continues to tell
us that the West African counterpart although "agreed to identify on a broad basis of
colour or 'race' with his New World confrere." he did not however, forgive him "for
shedding, inevitably, some of his African traits for the customs and values of the white
The author of the book has taken note of the fact that the Pan-Africanists also
changed their perspectives over a period of time. At the early stage they wanted "unity of
their 'kith and kin' and assimilation or close and "harmonious relationship within the
Empire." They were "part and parcel of constitutional liberalism" and were gradualistt".
But at the later stage in the post-war period their goals were outright independence
of colonies, socialism and unity of Africa.
LaGuerre poses and attempts to answer with considerable success the following per-
tinent question which is. in fact. the basis and the core of the subject matter of the book:
"How do the thinkers under review relate to Pan-Africanism?" Casely-Hayford who had
"no doubts about the validity and vitality of African culture" and who was "a constitu-
tionalist". belonged to the earlier brand of Pan-Africanism which laid primary emphasis
on African leadership, constitutional and gradual methods of agitation, and vindication of
African culture and civilization. His "major contribution to cultural renaissance in West
Africa" was a "vindication of African personality." exactly in the tradition of Blyden and
that of Waddy Harris. "But in other ways," he was a precursor of the latter brand of Pan-
Africanism", that is. a vision of United Africa which became associated with Nkrumah.
On the other hand. Padmore, who was a "prototype of Fabian Socialism", and whose
ultimate objective was '"united Africa on socialist lines" belonged to the post-war (i.e.
later) brand of Pan-Africanism. Far more than Hayford and other earlier Pan-Africanists.
he was primarily concerned with a type of Pan-Africanism which would be directly
"relevant to the age of independence." LaGuerre calls our attention to the fact that he
was a "born Pan-Africanist" who resorted to communism for a short while and then to
democratic socialism in order to find means to achieve "a place for his people." This is
the thread which unites Padmlore to Casely-Hayford and both Blyden and Garvey. In
fact. he belonged to an age that "equated socialism with independence." He also "tacitly
conceded lie importance of the racial factor for working class movements." Pan-African-
ism, which emerged as an ideology for export. became identified with socialism and class
struggle and opposed capitalism which was equated with imperialism. "This factor," as
LaGuerre points out. "'more than any other, split the Pan-Africanists into two camps -
the moderates and radicals." While the radicals championed the cause of a Soviet brand
of socialism, the moderates like Padmore increasingly moved to theoretical positions
similar to those of Nyerere and Senghor. James, a radical and "an international socialist",
was "the symbol of the 'pure' socialist whose concerns were universal as they were inter-
national." To him "imperialism was first and foremost an economic question." And for
this reason, his reflection on "the analysis of the racial factor is not central."
LaGuerre tells us that Hayford. who was "the apostle of much of the early liberal-
constitutionalism" in the "tradition of Burke and his successors", was one of the "last
of the representatives of the liberals in the colonies." LaGuerre reminds us that during his
time the socialist drive had not begun in Africa with the result that there was no environ-
mental or ideological pressure on him to take a stand on communism or socialism or to
resort to violent methods or approaches advocated, with varying emphasis, by the Marxist
and Socialist oriented Pan-Africanists of the later period, or to examine or look at the
society from the perspective of economic exploitation. He saw "the problem in terms of
harmonious relationship, not class struggle." As he was "firmly anchored in the African
tradition." he was not in search of an ideology. In view of the fact that, as briefly noted
above, he was socialized in an environment of constitutional liberalism and in an age of
evolutionary and gradual development, his methods of agitation and his means or tech-
niques for achieving Pan-Africanism were constitutional, peaceful, and moderate. Gradual
and slow political change within the framework of Empire, peaceful techniques of appeal
to reason and logic, a belief in the humanizing effects of education and moderate leader-
ship of the middle class were the "guiding principles of his approach to questions of
politics." Hayford observed that "we know that we have got to go slowly. We know that
we have got our lessons to learn, and that we must learn them well; but we know also that
sooner or later, having learnt our lessons, we shall arrive at the goal." For him as well as
for many intellectuals who were socialized during his time. LaGuerre tells us, "indepen-
dence was the end of an evolutionary process. Colonial rule was deemed a partnership in
which the Imperial Power should work along with, not in opposition to, the colonial
intelligentsia." Padmore spelt out the principles of Pan-Africanism as nationalism, politi-
cal democracy and socialism which would be "the only effective forces against tribalism
and regional separation which threaten the unity of all young nations." He was also con-
cerned with finding right "strategies and alliances in the struggle for independence." He
considered Pan-Africanism as "an evolving creed" which would lay emphasis on a pro-
gramme of development and modernisation and on "a total reconstruction of the state on
the basis of some version of socialism." He advocated a programme of "revolution in
Africa," as LaGuerre notes, in three stages: (i) the achievement of independence was the
first step: (ii) next step was social revolution which would pave the way for the third or
final stage i.e. (iii) regional unity resulting in a "United States of Africa." Democratic
socialism was to be "an essential ingredient of this programme."
Like Hayford, but unlike James, Padmore's one major concern was race. He was
no doubt, as LaGuerre points out, "a groping socialist" who was intimately aware
and conscious of the importance of racial issue in metropolitan-colonial relationship.
Padmore made it very clear in unambiguous terms that "the 'race struggle' in most cases
.. overshadows the class struggle." His role as activist and theorist was always influenced,
in varying degrees, by his deep concern for Africa and the peoples of African descent in
the 'New World'. As a communist for a short period and later as a socialist, LaGuerre
observes, he urged his colleagues, with increasing emphasis. that "their doctrines needed
substantial modification to make room for the negro. Even his short stay within and
departure from the Soviet Camp had to do with negro questions. Padmore's activities in
the main were devoted to black organizations or causes." LaGuerre. therefore, rightly
concludes that Padmore "was more of a Pan-Africanist than a 'socialist' proper."
James, on the contrary. was much more of an international socialist than a Pan-
Africanist. if at all. He was a radical and a Marxist in the strict sense of the term. He was
a groping intellectual in search of "a theory of society." Marxism was a "theoretical
discovery" for him. LaGuerre finds that he was never involved, either as a member or
leader, in large influential "black" organizations. He was always associated with organisa-
tions or cults. In a sense he was a "sectarian". He was always concerned with the "purity
of workers' role" in the process of production. He was an intellectual rather than an
activist. James strongly believed that imperialism was "'first and foremost an economic
question" and. therefore, both "the colony and metropole were locked in one economic
system." Hence, breakdown of metropolitan power must precede the independence of
the colony. To him the working-class movements in the metropole and the colony are
"one and indivisible." He wanted the workers of the world to unite and fight capital-
ism. The author of the book under review identifies his inability to perceive social and
psychological factors in 'black' organizations which impelled them towards interpreta-
tions in racial and cultural terms."
LaGuerre therefore concludes that "to James the black experience was not sui
generis. It was the common experience of the exploited under capitalism. Hence. inter-
national working-class solidarity was a major staple in James' political thought. It was the
necessary corollary of the assumption that capitalism was one and indivisible." LaGuerre
is of the opinion that at an early date James was removed from his "local environment"
to "more international plane" by his early training, 'class' position and cultural involve-
ments. For him the "national question" never existed and he always looked "beyond the
nation state for socialist experience." Hayford and Padmore. almost by contrast, are
therefore "distinguished by their nationalist preoccupations."
From the foregoing discussion we find that LaGuerre has provided us with an
interesting, informative and thoughtful account of the various stages of the development
and changing pattern of the socio-political thought of the Pan-African intelligentsia.
Although there were differences between them in perspectives and approaches, yet we
find some unity of thought in this group of thinkers.
A fairly good number of research works on many aspects of colonial rule are avail-
able. But there is a considerable dearth of such works on the social and political thought
of the colonial intelligentsia. There is no doubt that LaGuerre's book will go a long way
in filling this gap. It is expected that this book might encourage researchers in the field of
third world political thought and political sociology to undertake similar studies.
However, it should be noted that the scope or dimension of a book with such a title
should be much broader or wider. In order to justify the title the author should have
included into the study some important personalities from other colonial areas such as
Fast Alrica. South and Southeast Asia and South America. For example, most of the
issues that fired the imagination of the colonial intelligentsia in South Asia and their reac-
tions were different in varying degrees from most of the issues and reactions that we have
noted in this hook. AlteralivelI. the author could use a sub-litle in order to clearly spell
out tile content or subject mattel of the book. Also. short biographical notes on Hayford.
Padmore and James at tlle beginning or end of the hook would have helped enormously
the readers. particularly those who are not ver\ familiar \vith the Pan-American intelli-
gentsia. in grasping their ideas and responses.
liowever, there can be no doubt that the book is a balanced and well-documented
study of one of the major aspects of the colonial era 1.e. Pan-Aricanisni.
A quarterly joural of the Institute of Social and Economic Research,
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Please print clearly
The sea that contains our dark history steadily turns
its gilded pages. A man's foot stamps each fresh pain
of meaning into the burning scroll of sand.
Soon, as the tide rises, each syntax
will be blotted from memory's chapter and
this searching man must begin again.
One vowel of sunlight shoots and burns
over the gorgonic reefs. His soul heaves and grips the descending light.
Darkness too soon devours this space
chasing him inland to the sighing chattel. The harsh fact
of an unfinished poem tightens like rope in his chest. He must rise and pace.
The child is eager to rush from the womb. The child will fight
to clutch a new pain.
Tomorrow, he will be on this beach again ...
Eats the soul's wick
To a footless fall
By its own light ...
The infinite horizon kills
Where it passes vision.
The stories of Maurice
Fill the bay.
Loaned him a kingdom.
Light makes shadows
As the candle's womb melts.
An old man cries
Like an island
That cannot swallow its waves.
As a dream falls away.
Down the candle's blood.
Falls to history
Where numb ghosts
Heaped in wax suicides
Lie at Grenada's end.
TIM TIM TALES
CHILDREN'S STORIES FROM GRENADA, WEST INDIES
General Editors: BEVERLEY A STEELE Resident Tutor
BRUCE ST. JOHN U.W.I., Cave Hill
Assisted by: Elaine Fido, Michael Gilkes, Phyllis Osbourne
Rosemary Reeves, Willie Redhead, Joan Price
Published by: THE U.W.I. EXTRA MURAL DEPARTMENT
MARRYSHOW HOUSE, TYRREL STREET, GRENADA
Available from Caribbean Quarterly at US$6.00 per copy
Postage and Package included
Murdo J. Macleod and Robert Wasserstrom (eds) Spaniards and Indians in Southeastern
Mesoamerica essays on the history of ethnic relations. Nebraska: University of
Nebraska Press, 1983, 291 pages.
What happened to the Indians in the New World during and after the Conquest period?
The answer to this question ranges from there being little information on the Caribbean
islands to the masses of written material on Central Mexico and the Peruvian altiplano.
The situation in Southern Mexico and Northern Central America referred to as South-
eastern Mesoamerica by anthropologists specializing in this area takes an intermediate
position. The consensus from the authors in the volume Spaniards and Indians in South-
eastern Mesoamerica is that there is a great deal of primary material in the form of
diaries, documents from the national archives, municipal records, papers from indivi-
duals, published material, and the memory of informants. However, there has been little
synthesis by historians and even less anthropological research in the native socio-culture.
The collection of studies in the volume is an attempt to state some of what has been
done and pinpoint possible areas for future research. In this regard it is a noble effort
and a most welcome addition to our understanding of a geographical area that has had
a violent political history, a situation that has returned with even more acrimony within
the past ten years.
The time period covered in Spaniards and Indians in Southeastern Mesoamerica
spans from the contact era in the 15th and 16th centuries to this century. The area in-
cludes present-day Yucatan, Chiapas, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize. Apart from geo-
graphical proximity, there are other commonalities to be found in this area stemming
from its indigenous population and its place with the colonizing efforts of the Spaniards.
Firstly, the Maya are the main inhabitants, a group that had developed a highly complex
civilization from before the time of Christ to about 1000 A.D.. They were able to effect
political and economic structures that extended vertically and horizontally (cf. Freidel.
pp. 40-63 and Jones, pp. 64-91) and have retained a tenacity throughout the colonial
period and up to this present time. Actually, the region occupied a relatively insignificant
position in the agenda of the colonial Spaniards for its lack of immediately exploitable
material resources, unlike the precious metals to be found further in Mexico. Hence,
they took a longer time to pacify (i.e. dominate) the area, leaving it to waver between
bouts of allegiance to the Spanish crown and church and relapses into their own native
customs. Southeastern Mesoamerica remained a periphery within the Vice-Royalty of
New Spain. The consequent perduration of the Indians in the' area makes it especially
pivotal in the study of Spanish/Indian relations.
The volume contains articles that combine the use of methods from the disciplines
of history and anthropology, both of which are complementary in the study of social
history. History provides a breadth with a concern for cause-effect relationships usually
told about those who were making history, namely members of the upper creole and
ladino hierarchy. Anthropology reverses this with a concern for the microcosm, the
details of native culture social organization, political structure, intergroup associations,
and religious systems. Archaeology, as a part of anthropology and as a sub-discipline
that is especially rich in this area, enables a retroactive perspective that is useful for the
reconstruction of events that are linked to present-day societies. Both history and
anthropology provide tools for arriving at a synthesis that is wide in scope. The result
is the unearthing of data that could be compared with those found in other areas of the
world where there was confrontation between two alien cultures, the European and the
native. Furthermore, the process enables the student to project where future research
can be carried out, a major point that is brought out by all the authors.
For analytic purposes I group the articles into three types. One article (Sherman,
pp. 169-184)gives a descriptive overview collected mostly from historical sources. Farriss
(pp. 1-39) and MacLeod (pp. 189-214) review the existing historical material and
provide analytic frameworks on the way researchers have viewed Indians.
The third type found in the studies by Freidel (pp. 40-63), Hones (pp. 64-91),
Wasserstrom (pp. 92-126), Rus (pp. 127-168), and Carmack (pp. 215-252) uses infor-
mation obtained from both history and anthropology to introduce concepts that provide
fresh insights into the story of people in the region. In these studies the broadened inter-
disciplinary perspective spotlights the systems of domination against the Indians and the
operations of their internal socio-culture, especially in response to the superior powers
Freidel gives a brief insight into the political economy of the Maya at the time of
contact and concludes with the provocative suggestion that the control of farflung
marketing networks was a main determinant of the hierarchical structure of Maya society.
Jones elaborates on trading relations also among the early colonial Maya but adds that
they also used political ties with neighboring groups to fortify themselves against
Spanish incursions. The ultimate success of such a strategy, Jones adds, is that the Maya
in central Belize continued their attacks not only against the Spanish but also against the
British loggers operating in this subregion in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Another major form of resistance against colonial and postcolonial domination was to
develop nativistic movements, the main focus of attention by Wasserstrom and Rus on
Chiapas Indians. Rus' contribution is especially important within the field of historiogra-
phy. He traces the shifting ideological currents that change over time the interpretations
given to a mass upheaval by the Indians that took place in 1869-70. Finally, Carmack
analyses the different dependent relations enforced upon the Indians in a part of highland
Guatemala during 1800-1944 and uses the case study approach to highlight the extreme
political violence against them.
The data in the volume make it compulsory reading for students of this area. The
methods used make it essential reading for those interested in the use of anthropology
and history as tools for research within the broad field of ethnohistory. Although the
studies themselves are essays reflecting the viewpoints of the authors, the editors provide
an adequate introductory synoptic statement that gives an overview of the topics covered.
Finally, for the more serious reader there is included a glossary and a comprehensive
bibliography of published and unpublished material complementing the articles.
JOSEPH O. PALACIO
Beverley Ormerod, An Introduction to the French Caribbean Novel (Heinemann, London,
1985, 149 pages)
Leon-Francois Hoffmann, Essays on Haitian Literature, (Three Continents Press. Washing-
ton. 1984, 184 pages)
The last two decades of the present century can easily be seen as the heyday of critical
theory in general and literary criticism in particular. At present it appears that writing
about literature or even about critical method is an important as creating original literary
works. Criticism is no longer seen as a secondary or parasitic activity but as equal in
inventiveness and imaginative power to any literary work. The present predilection for
precious and contorted Prose which has been propagated by literary theorists has now
even spread to dominate other areas of intellectual discourse such as history and anthro-
The literary critic in the Caribbean now faces a rich and confusing situation. He has
before him a daunting range of critical approaches which he can use from the tradi-
tional sociological approach to the more recent obsession with the autonomy of the text
and a consequent self-consciousness about literary narrative. Neither Hoffmann in his
Essays on Haitian Literature nor Ormerod in her Introduction to the French Caribbean
Novel is an example of an extremist adherence to any particular critical orthodoxy. How-
ever, even though both works are examples of an intelligent use of critical method by two
academic critics, attempting to introduce the anglophone reader to the French Carib-
bean's writers, there is something to be said about differences in critical approach.
Hoffmann's work is clearly that of a literary historian. There is evidence of massive
documentation and an exhaustive range of literary material which is analysed. The
lengthy bibliography at the end also attests this emphasis. These essays, which have
been published elsewhere but are collected for the first time, also seem to be the product
of the American academic world and its emphasis on the conference paper. Length, tone
and subject matter are affected as a result. But even if a little long-winded and compul-
sively detailed, these essays demonstrate a thoughtful use of traditional literary
approaches. We do get a good insight into social values and historical incident even if the
reader is at times a little disconcerted by Hoffmann's tendency to believe in the solidity
of characters and in fictional narrative as nothing but a mirror of society.
Ormerod's book on the French Caribbean novel is not as wide ranging as Hoffmann's
but built around the close reading of six novels. Also, we are not dealing here with articles
previously published in academic journals but with material designed for a more homo-
geneous text, held together by motifs of Paradise lost and the Fall. Consequently, she is
interested in more than a sociological use of literature and is always sensitive to the
hidden resonances of fictional narrative. Her comments are extremely penetrating when
she is treating dense poetic narratives which present innumerable problems to the tradi-
tional critic. If the advantage of Hoffmann's all-inclusive treatment of literary texts is
that he saves us the trouble of having to read many works of dubious literary merit,
Ormerod encourages us to become acquainted with a small number of important works
that demand careful reading.
In his essays on Haitian writing. Hoffm nan concentrates on works that are rich in
documentary evidence. Naturally, the novel is emphasised at the expense of other genres
since it tends to contain the narrative fat that is indispensable to the treatment of social
and historical context. Poetry and poetic prose tend to get short shrift in these essays.
This tendency is not surprising since Hoffmann's expertise lies in the 19th century French
novel. The one work chosen for detailed study is Emeric Bergeaud's Stella which was pub-
lished in 1859 and is the first novel written by a Haitian. This essay is a valuable study of
the way in which fiction can offer insights into attitudes and values which are not always
as clearly treated in the official documents of the period.
The sustained argument that runs through this collection of essays is that Haitian
literature is more than a "Literary curiosity". Hoffmann rightly criticises the Western
attitude to Haiti as merely picturesque sometimes exciting a thrill, more often provok-
ing a shudder of disgust. He is convincing in his crusade to demonstrate the strength and
sophistication of Haitian literature in order to counter images of mindless poverty. We
tend to share his belief that "much of Haitian literature's dignity and strength is, for all
men, a source of elation and pride", even if at times this leads to a critical attitude that
verges on the bland and the overly admiring.
Ormerod is less defensive in this regard and perhaps is suggesting that the intensity
of alienation and dispossession has been a powerful stimulus to writers in the region to
rise imaginatively to the challenge of providing answers. Also. she deals with six carefully
selected novels which are used to demonstrate a range of literary responses to the central
images of Paradise lost and the Fall. Her use of the Cahier d'un retour au pays natal by
Aim6 Ce'saire becomes an inspired strategy to trace aesthetic continuities in Caribbean
fiction as well as demonstrate the seminal role of Cesaire's poem in providing a stock of
literary images for the region.
It is not that Ormerod is not interested in social context since we are given
useful details on class stratification, values and historical circumstance. However, these
documentary details are never allowed to overwhelm more specifically literary questions.
She explores both external contours of the narrative as well as deeper more symbolic
resonances, both inner outer and inner realities. Her bibliography, though not as exhaust-
ive as Hoffmann's, gives us some insight into literary and critical influences. Her sources
range from historical and sociological documents to the theoretical works of Northrop
Frye, Gilbert Durand and Joseph Campbell.
The six novels chosen reflect this range of interests. There are the more ideological
and sociological narratives of Jacques-Stephen Alexis. Joseph Zobel and Michele Lacrosil.
The other three texts are the less 'engage' and more poetic narratives of Jacques Roumain,
Edouard Glissant and Simone Schwarz-Bart. The former offer useful insights into politics
and society in the Caribbean the plantation, urban poverty and colour/class tensions.
From the slums of Port-au-Prince to the cane fields of Martinique, from the mindless
world of the beke to the shallow, pretentious 'salons' of the Haitian elite, we are intro-
duced to an unjust social order which resists change. Ormerod is aware of the extent to
which blind outrage against this injustice can have a damaging effect on the literary work.
For instance, she is careful to point out that Alexis' novel can at times be rambling and
one-dimensionsl. or that Zobel's prose is "flat and occasionally stilted". She also observes
the extent to which the writer's sensitivity to land and the poetic selection of certain
images can prevent these works from becoming dry political tracts.
However, Ormerod is at her best when dealing with the three novels which are more
carefully constructed poetic narratives. Images of space and landscape introduced in
Cesaire's epic poem provide keys to the symbolic patterns in the novels of Roumain,
Glissant and Schwarz-Bart. In all three works, symbolic values are analysed -- from the
Biblical resonances of light and water in Masters of the Dew to the penetrating analysis of
the antithetical values of hill and plain in The Ripening and The Bridge of Beyond. These
patterns are no gratuitious game as far as Ormerod is concerned but imaginative responses
to the terrible realities of the visible world. To counter or circumvent the official 'truth'
of dispossession and alienation in the Caribbean, these writers offer another way of seeing
things, a kind of internal resistance. Continuities in the land, the unceasing process of
creolisation and the hinterland of the 'morne' all are offered as an unofficial but truer
glimpse at endurance and survival in the Caribbean.
The two best essays are the chapters on Glissant and Schwarz-Bart. Both works
discussed deal directly with the quest for knowledge and the symbol of the garden. In
The Ripening, Glissant's protagonist Thael must leave the secluded, consoling garden of
the 'morne' and know the harsh truth of the plain. Once initiated, he can never return to
the garden. The Bridge of Beyond, however, is about maintaining one's attachment to this
enclosed ancestral space. Schwarz-Bart's heroine can always retreat to this space to resist
the ravages of 'la folie antillaise'. Ormerod's heart belongs to Schwarz-Bart. However, the
reader might find this nostalgia for a consoling, private world a little self-indulgent. Per-
haps Glissant, in reacting against such agoraphobia, is suggesting that longings for Eden
are simply wistful and paralysing. The challenge is to leave the protective garden and taste
the bitter-sweet fruit of knowledge.
These tend to be minor reservations, however, since the interweaving of plot,
context and symbol is so skilfully managed by Ormerod.
Three Continents Press should be given credit for continuing to provide interesting
commentary on Haitian writing. Heinemann should be commended for its publication of
Ormerod's critical work which is unprecedented in English, both in insight and originality.
J. MICHAEL DASH
Stephen Alexander Fortune, Merchants and Jews. The Struggle for British West Indian
Commerce, 1650-1750. Gainsville: University of Florida Press, 1984, pp. xiii, 244.
The movement of Jewish merchants into the British Caribbean in the seventeenth century
represented part of a trade diaspora which had its origins in ancient Europe, having already
spread into Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and mainland America. As Philip Curtin points
out in his recent book, Cross-cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge University
Press, 1984). people have generally been suspicious of merchants and even moreso of
foreigners: yet traders have often been outsiders required to act as brokers between
distinct cultures and economies. Jewish merchants frequently took on this role, being
regarded with suspicion and forced to live in enclaves as a consequence. In the case of the
British Caribbean, the position of Jewish merchants was particularly anomalous, since
they were partially acculturated and were intermediaries in exchange between British
planters and British metropolitan merchants, yet remained outsiders politically and
legally. They were wanted, especially by the metropolitan British, because they had a
capacity to produce bullion rather than mere commodities and so played an indispen-
sable role in mercantilist commerce. This presumably unpleasant business was left to
Jewish merchants just as Christian Europeans in the Middle Ages had preferred to leave the
distasteful matter of moneylending to the Jews.
Historians of the British Caribbean have tended to concentrate their efforts on the
economics of the developing plantation system during the period 1650-1750, commonly
styled the "sugar revolution". Trade, the other arm of mercantilism, has attracted some
attention, notably from Richard Pares, but this work has tended to focus on the metro-
politan merchants and the emergence of the commission system in the late seventeenth
century. Stephen Alexander Fortune's Merchants and Jews, on the other hand, pro-
vides a fresh perspective on the period by directing attention to the role of merchants
resident in the colonies and the economic and social conflict which developed between
"Creole" and Jewish traders. He focuses his study on Barbados and Jamaica, the major
centres of the sugar revolution and commerce. Here the Jewish population came partly
from England, but mostly consisted of Portuguese Jews who migrated from Brazil to
Surinam and Cayenne before moving to the islands. Within the merchant community
Jews played a central role, yet they were always only a small proportion of the total
white population. In Jamaica. Fortune estimates that Jews made up an average 6 per cent
of the white population over the whole period 1650-1750. In Barbados. they accounted
for only 3 per cent. But the Jewish population tended to be relatively stable and, since
few Jews became planters, constituted a highly visible group in the major ports. Fortune
establishes that Jewish merchants were particularly active in the minor staple trades,
being excluded from sugar by the metropolitan-based commission system, and in illicit
trade with the Spanish empire. They also participated in the slave trade, playing a large
role in the South Sea Company and the trade in "refuse" Negroes. Their apparent wealth
was envied by Creole merchants, but the British need for bullion ensured that social
oppression of the colonial Jews was somewhat more limited than in the metropolis.
Many important areas of Caribbean history are opened up by Fortune but, un-
fortunately, his treatment is not entirely successful. A great deal of material is presented,
collected from North American and European (though not Caribbean) archives. This
material is poorly organized, however, so that it is not always easy to follow a particular
topic or to chart changes over time. Readers willing to contend with this tangle of data will
be rewarded by new insights and information concerning the formative stages of planta-
tion economy and society. as well as the organization of Caribbean trade.
B. W. HIGMAN
We are happy to announce the first major study on tie nature and process the philo-
ophy ololiterary expression and experience, to come oul uo Ite i anglophone Caribbean.
Dr. Sheila Carter. lecturer in Spanish in the Department ol Spanish UIW .I Mona, in Jour
brillia t cha pters: Setting the limits. An approach to literary criticism ('Lierar) theoryy)
Theme determines technique and The Literary use of language ('Ilheory in practlc'):
lllustralets 1thou1 g selected works by Alfonso Reyes Ille ico). Pedro lir (D)ominiian
Republic). Miuiel Angel Aslturis (Guateill,iia) Iand Cesar Vallejo (PCleru). among ollthes.
Iow1 so nm ol tie lost ililportlalni il ers ol 011 (r Hisplilnic) Aincri lic1.e a.IlliCeed their
efleclis and their well-earned stature.
A 11ost useful illonograph not only for lite acadeinlic scholar .bhu I'or all those interested
in extending theii knowledge ol' the region.
L S 5 ISB.\ 976 8006 00 5
U'K 25 230 Pages Paperback.
P.O. Box 170. Mona, Kingston 7. Jamaica. West Indies.
Femi Ojo Ade: Rene Maran, The Black Frenchman Three Continents Press, Washing-
ton, 1984, 277 pages
-Femi Ojo Ade's Rene Maran: The Black Frenchman is perhaps the only full-length
work in English on the man who has come to be seen as the precursor to modern French
Caribbean writing. This recognition largely rests on the novel Batouala, veritable roman
negre which won the Prix Goncourt in 1921. Maran was one of the first black intellec-
tuals to speak out against the conditions of French colonisation in Africa, where he spent
time in the colonial service. His novel has subsequently attained the status of a black
'classic', mentioned admiringly by Claude McKay, the militant members of Legitime
Defense and the negritude writers, C6saire, Damas and Senghor. For instance, Joseph
Zobel in La rue Cases-Negres (Black Shack Alley) tells us about a character who
"remained God knows how long literally overwhelmed by the reading of Batouala by
Ojo Ade's 'Bio-Critical Study' is as unrelentingly hostile to Maran as the previously
mentioned writers have been generous in their praise for Maran's achievement. For the
latter, biographical comment on Maran was a form of ancestor worship, for Ojo Ade it is
an attempt to brush aside the sentimental delusions of an older generation of critics and
set the record straight. However, his study is as earnest and laborious in its scholarship as
it is repetitive and unimaginative in its critical assessment of a man who must be the
quintessential exile among black writers. Maran's life is characterized by ceaseless
vagrancy -- French Guyana, Martinique, France, Africa. At home in none of these coun-
tries, he appears to us a haunted, isolated spectre, adopted by the negritude movement
but never a part of this group of militant, self-assured writers who rescued him from
marginal recognition in the Thirties.
It must be noted that Ojo Ade's critique of Maran owes much to Frantz Fanon's
Peau Noire, masques blancs (1952) which is lavishly quoted. Fanon analysed the charac-
ter of Jean Veneuse in Maran's Un homme pareil aux autres in order to demonstrate
symptoms of neurotic assimile behaviour. Maran's protagonist and by (Fanon's) impli-
cation Maran himself is characterized as an 'abandonment-neurotic': insecure, hyper-
sensitive. condemned to self-doubt. For Fanon it was not Maran's anti-colonial polemic
which mattered but the extent to which he exhibited the insecurities and inhibitions of
the colonised psyche. Ojo Ade simply extends Fanon's hypothesis and applies it to all
Maran's work, prose and poetry. It is no longer the sentimental soft focus of the negri-
tude writers that is evident but rather Fanon's unflattering close-up that informs the pre-
The book's subtitle "The Black Frenchman" reveals the nature of Ojo Ade's emphasis.
In his survey of Maran's 'oeuvre', he examines the inadequacies in Maran's treatment of
African culture, black women, political commitment and the latter's shameful com-
promises with French culture. Ojo Ade tends to overstate his case, however, and makes
quite pointless comparisons between Maran and the politically 'engage" writers of the Six-
ties, such as Mongo Beti, Cheik Auta Diop. etc. Ultimately Maran's achievement is judged
in terms of the militancy of a much younger generation of writers. Hence, the following
"What distinguishes (Maran) from Cesaire
is that he did not, literarily, mentally
or physically try to join the masses".
Here, Cesaire is distorted so that Maran can be ridiculed. Ojo Ade goes on to attack Maran
for not writing in creole and for having "no black consciousness, no negritudinist commit-
ment". What we must ask ourselves is whether this is a careful exercise in debunking or an
act of cavalier ransacking.
The essential question that unfortunately remains unanswered is that Maran may have
been a francophile black intellectual but not every francophile black intellectual was
Maran. Wherein lies the difference? Did Maran manage imaginatively to transcend the
sometimes dismaying aspects of his career? Is his portrayal of African society a result
of racial prejudice or a kind of Zolaesque 'r6alisme cru'? Surely Zola's refusal to ennoble
and idealise the poor was meant to dramatise fully their wretched condition? Is this the
case with Maran's depiction of Africa? Ojo Ade singlemindedly pursues his thesis that
Maran was unsympathetic, opinionated and high-handed in his treatment of Africa and
the colonial world. His treatment of Maran is no different.
Reviled by some, revered by others. Maran's life and achievement still await a defini-
tive assessment. In the present work a desert of incomprehension stretches between
author and subject. The sepia photo on the cover of Maran. rigidly Iformal in suit and tie,
is a measure of the distance separating him from the confident, smiling Ojo Ade in dashiki
at the end of the book. Free of 'europeanism', stretching forth his hand to the masses,
Ojo Ade has produced a study, turgid with abstractions and bristling with polemical out-
bursts. Alas, poor Maran!
J. MICHAEL DASH
Revista Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales
Puerto Rico -
TARIFA DE SUSCRIPCION ANNUAL (Dos Numeros)
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Universidad Interamericana. Apariado 1293. Halo Rey. Puerto Rico 00919
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
Trevor W. Purcell
J. Michael Dash
Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Reed College Port-
land. Oregon, specialising in Caribbean Studies.
is lecturer in the Department of Government, UWI, Mona.
is Professor in the Department of Government. UWI. Mona.
author of numerous books on government and politics of
by profession an archeologist and anthropologist is at
present the Resident Tutor. Department of Extra-Mural
is lecturer in Science Education in the Faculty of Education.
UWI. Mona. Her particular interests are scientific literacy
and children's alternative frameworks.
a young Barbadian poet has three published volumes of
poems and was second prize winner (1984) in the Inter-
national Poetry Contest sponsored by Mentor Magazine.
has published two volumes of poetry: Poems (1978) and
Prisms (1972) she now resides in and writes from Baibados.
is Professor in the Department of History. 'WI and author
of Slave Populations of the British Caribbean 1807 1834.
is Head of the Department of French and German. UWI.
Mona and frequent reviewer of books on Francophone
Caribbean on behalf of Caribbean Quarterly.
is lecturer in the Department of Government Univeisity of
the West Indies. St. Augustine.
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