The Jamaican Context
Fifty-three years after independence, Jamaica is still struggling to create a more equal and less divisive society and respond to sociopolitical challenges, which accompanied processes of urbanization and rapid growth in Kingston’s population, and the problem of disenfranchisement. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of Jamaican society in order to set the context for the field site chapters. The degree to which citizenship did or did not materialize at different historical moments is examined as a way of illuminating Jamaica’s social order and various inequalities in its political and economic structures. Critical aspects of Jamaica’s political culture, the contested nature of citizenship and the relationship between the state and citizens from different classes in Jamaica are explored.