Dancing in a hurricane: state and public responses to Hurricane Gilbert in Jamaica
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
Subject Categories::L310 Applied Sociology
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AbstractDifferent cultural strata respond differently to a natural disaster threatening – or destroying – their livelihood; because of these responses, certain patterns become associated (justly or not) with the respective strata. In the wake of Hurricane Gilbert hitting Jamaica in 1988 and causing widespread destruction, several response patterns emerged from the state/government sector and general public. Responses varied from fear and despair to pride and humour; these responses were associated with a particular knowledge archive of the hurricane and its emotional effect on the island’s population and infrastructure. This study examines how hurricane Gilbert was described in the state and public discourses. We will begin with the statements by the government officials and newspaper coverage of the effects the hurricane had on the island immediately after the landfall and within the first three months of the aftermath. We will then proceed to the analysis of two songs written shortly after the hurricane – “Wild Gilbert” by Lloyd Lovindeer and “Gilbert Attack Us” by Bananaman – with the aim to determine whether the way these songs depict Gilbert is similar to that presented in the state discourse or whether there are significant variations between the two. We will focus in particular on the relationship between the knowledge archive of Gilbert hitting Jamaica and the emotions associated with it.
CitationCarpenter V (2022) 'Dancing in a hurricane: state and public responses to Hurricane Gilbert in Jamaica', Caribbean Quarterly, 68 (1), pp.44-66.
PublisherTaylor and Francis
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