The Popular Culture of Illegality: Crime and the Politics of Aesthetics in Urban Jamaica
Abstract

Abstract:

This article discusses the ways in which popular culture reflects and reinforces criminal governance structures in Kingston, Jamaica, where so-called “dons” are central to extra-state forms of political order. In order to appreciate why donmanship has developed as a durable structure of rule and belonging, attention must be paid not only to the dons’ informal provision of material services to inner-city residents, but also to the imaginative, aesthetic underpinnings of criminal authority. Drawing on work linking aesthetics, politics, and the body, the article examines the emotional and ethical work that specific texts, sounds, performative practices, and visual images do.