Man Vibes: Discourses of Masculinity in Jamaican Dancehall Culture

Donna Hope

Johnson Center, C
March 08, 2006, 07:00 PM to 07:00 PM


This dissertation examines discourses of Jamaican masculinities through the prism of Jamaican dancehall culture. It evaluates the hegemonic standards of masculinity that are represented in Jamaican dancehall culture through the overt performance and presentation of four dancehallized masculinities that are highlighted in dancehall music and culture:- promiscuous/polygamous (Ole Dawg), aggression and violence (Badman), anti-male homosexuality, and conspicuous consumption (Bling Bling). The work also points towards factors that define ambivalent versions of dancehallized masculinities which exist simultaneously with the traditional, hegemonic forms of dancehallized masculinities, thereby creating a traditional/transgressive dialectic of masculinities in dancehall culture. I argue that dancehall music and culture explicitly articulates masculinities that replicate the traditional stereotypes of masculine being in Jamaica, while it simultaneously and covertly projects what are coded as ambivalent and transgressive ways of being male in Jamaica. The inherent contradictions between these traditional/transgressive masculinities are creatively resolved by fabricating an ambivalent, dancehallized masculine `doubleness? that subtly works to re-fashion and re-image masculine identities in Jamaican dancehall culture.

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