Caribbean In/Securities: Creativity and Negotiation in the Caribbean (CARISCC)


CARISCC Working paper series

CARISCC Working Papers Series and Live Discussion


This working paper series is part of CARISCC, a Leverhulme-funded network that attempts to reconceptualise the everyday negotiation between security and insecurity (in/security) in the Caribbean, connecting it with the forms of everyday creativity that are so much a feature of Caribbean life.

All working papers are presented below. Live discussions will take place on 27th February 2017, at 3.30pm (GMT). Please join us for this live event!

Feel free to comment on the papers by posting constructive reviews, suggestions and/or questions through the reply boxes at the bottom of each paper. We will be using on Twitter during the live event.

We will reply to all comments live, between 3.30-4.30pm (GMT) on 27th February, 2017.

Featured post

Mediating Escape: #Caribbean Conversations on In/Security, #Tourism and #Mobility

Author: Dr Susan P. Mains, University of Dundee, UK

The Caribbean has figured prominently in narratives of security, mobility and transnational connections. Referred to as the ‘Third Border’ in US foreign policies, and inhabiting contradictory geopolitical spaces between North and South America, the region also negotiates narratives of inbetweenness and in/security in relation to more ‘leisurely’ pursuits, notably tourism. In this working paper, I begin an exploration of the ways in which representations of in/security and mobililty have framed media images of Caribbean tourism by revisiting the critically acclaimed documentary film, Life and Debt (2001). While geopolitics and tourism studies have largely tended to remain distinct areas of research, this particular film—and the conversations within and around it–illustrate the usefulness and urgent need to exhume the interdependency of both. I argue that media representations, Caribbean literature and policy decision-making are part of ongoing conversations that illustrate the limitations of over-generalised notions of time, security and space. Drawing on Benítez-Rojo’s (1992) concept of ‘repeating islands,’ I discuss the ways in which re-examining representations of mobility as part of a series of interconnected and multi-layered conversations, opens up new possibilities for interrogating the ways in which tourism narratives have reinforced, recreated, and
stifled opportunities for diverse, secure and inclusive social spaces.

Please click here to access the full paper.

Livelihood In/Securities, Vulnerability and Resilience to Global Change in the Caribbean Agriculture Sector

Author: Dr Kevon Rhiney, Rutgers University, US

In this working paper I draw attention to the varying ways underlying forces of economic globalization and global environmental change have been threatening the livelihood security of farmers throughout the Caribbean. The paper also sheds light on some of the local-scale implications of these wider changes, and highlights the fact that the impacts are likely to produce uneven vulnerability outcomes mediated largely around differences in the social and economic landscapes in which individual farmers operate. While the paper draws strongly on the growing body of regional analyses of vulnerability and resilience, I also seek to move the discourse beyond the usual binary and mutually exclusive representations of these two concepts. Instead, I argue that farmers in the Caribbean are neither fully vulnerable nor fully resilient to these global forces. And in fact, their resilience may at times create the very conditions that engender new forms of vulnerability. The paper therefore calls for a critical rethinking (and even decentering) of these two dominant frameworks, if we are to arrive at a better understanding of the root causes and overarching forces shaping regional farmers’ insecurities to global change.

Please click here to access the full paper.

Singing Security: Representations of State and Non-State Protection in Jamaican Popular Music

Author: Dr Rivke Jaffe, University of Amsterdam, NL

This working paper explores representations of security and policing in popular Jamaican music, offering an initial survey of themes and a preliminary analysis of this music as a creative negotiation of insecurity emerging from some of the Caribbean’s most precarious urban spaces. In the context of consistently high levels of violent crime, Jamaica has seen a pluralization of security professionals, with private security companies, neighborhood watches and informal “dons” complementing or supplanting state security forces. Drawing on an analysis of reggae and dancehall songs, this paper examines how these different policing agents are represented in reggae and dancehall lyrics, and specifically how their relationship to the urban poor is narrated. I build on previous analyses of urban violence and real or metaphorical gunplay in Jamaican popular music (e.g. Hope 2006; Cooper 2007) by emphasizing representations of security provision and protection rather than of aggression or “badmanism” per se, although these emphases are of course not mutually exclusive.

Please click here to access the full paper.

Post-emancipation in/security: A working paper

Author: Dr Anyaa Anim-Addo, University of Leeds, UK

In the first working paper of this series, Patricia Noxolo outlined the research network’s perspective on security as created across different scales and by bottom-up as much as top-down processes. Equally, the project’s recognition of the history of in/security in the Caribbean over a longue durée, and particularly the significance of slavery within this longer history, calls for some engagement with the postemancipation period. With the advent of emancipation, followed by the slower process of changing socio-economic relations within plantation societies, the nineteenth century proved an important testing ground for everyday struggles.

Please click here to access the full paper.

Caribbean Maritime Labour and the Politicisation of In/security

Author: Dr David Featherstone, University of Glasgow.

In his essay ‘The Politics of Power and Violence: Rethinking the political in the Caribbean’ Anthony Bogues contends that thinking of ‘power as a field of force’ which ‘exists in other ways than in conventional state forms’ can be productive in understanding ‘geographical spaces of violence and death’ and ‘re-mapping sovereignty’ (Bogues, 2007: 198-199). He argues that doing so forces the rethinking of ‘the relationship between violence and power’, cracks ‘open homogeneous conceptions about subaltern counter-hegemonic practices’ and allows us ‘to interrogate the nation state in its postcolony iteration while thinking differently about the meaning of the political and sovereignty’.

This working paper contributes to these debates about the relations between the political and questions of in/security with a particular focus on the spaces through which subaltern counter-hegemonic practices have been shaped and articulated. It develops these problematics through discussion of struggles over the terms on which maritime labour organisers from the Caribbean contested the ‘white labourism’ of the National Union of Seamen in British ports in the 1930s.

To access the full working paper, please click here.

#Maroon In/securities: Kamau Brathwaite on Colonial Wars of Xtermination

Author: Dr Ronald Cummings, Brock University.

If Kamau Brathwaite’s more recent work has been concerned with contemporary questions of security — such as 9/11 in his poem “Hawk” (2005), urban crime in his book Trench Town Rock (1994a) or various forms of death and dying in his Elegguas 2010) — a turn to Brathwaite’s wider body of writing and his scholarship also reveals a broader concern with questions of in/security. His work usefully demonstrates what Pat Noxolo and David Featherstone have discussed as “a longer historical perspective and a wider global perspective” on in/securities which “unsettles the newmillennial, US-centric quality of post-9/11 security preoccupations” (2014, p.604). While Noxolo and Featherstone focus on the Plantation as a particular site for mapping this historical view of in/security and theorize “slavery as in/security”, in this paper I want to use the concept of maroon in/securities as another way of engaging histories of in/securities (2014, p.604). In
turning to marronage, I want to trace relational spaces of colonial in/securities not singularly bound to, although indeed not separate from, the operations and brutalities of the Plantation. Instead, I use Maroon practices, strategies and spaces as important narrative sites that afford another perspective on the violence of plantation life and its insecurities.

To access the full working paper, please click here.

Caribbean in/security and creativity: A working paper

Author: Dr Patricia Noxolo, University of Birmingham.

This working paper exists as part of a Leverhulme funded network that attempts to re-theorise the everyday negotiation between security and insecurity (in/security) in the Caribbean, connecting it with the forms of everyday creativity that are so much a feature of Caribbean life. The project conceives of in/security in a broad interdisciplinary sense, including everyday experiences of violence, conflict and criminality at a range of scales (in the home, neighbourhood, nation and region), but also including environmental, livelihood and, most broadly, human security.

To access the full working paper, please click here.

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