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Title: Hegemony, Carib history and historical consciousness in St. Vincent
Author: Twinn, Paul William
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 1550
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis proposes that the Caribs of St. Vincent, who form a small minority in the island, have been the subject of a European discourse of alterity from the fifteenth century onwards. It further argues that the key tropes employed by this discourse were primarily reflexive and focused on emerging concepts of self and property. It is argued that, as a consequence of the hegemonic position that British culture attained in St. Vincent, the Vincentian population, both Carib and non-Carib alike, internalized these tropes. This has led most modern studies of the Caribs to present them as a marginalized population on the verge of extinction. This thesis argues that contrary7 to this misconception, the position of the Caribs has fundamentally altered in the period since independence and now features at the core of an essentialist discourse of national identity. Following a general introduction, the second chapter deals primarily with the construction of the traditional tropes associated with Caribness. In the third chapter the relationship of the Caribs to a developing European anthropology is examined with reference to concepts of natural law. This is followed by an analysis of the insertion of the island of St. Vincent into the mercantilist world system. In chapter four the historiography of the Caribs is considered in terms of the influence of British texts, and alternative sources of information, primarily French and Dutch, are considered in terms of the development of an historical hegemony on the island Chapter five discusses the events in the latter half of the twentieth century which served to reinforce the stereotypes of the preceeding centuries and yet which, it is argued, brought about the possibility of new forms of self-identification. The following chapter deals with the role of land ownership as a catalyst for Carib self-consciousness. The antepenultimate chapter deals with modern historiography and the influences of supra-national discourses in the Caribbean, whilst the penultimate considers the role of the Caribs in modern party politics in St. Vincent. The thesis concludes with a summary of the theoretical implications of this study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available