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  • Globalization and the Post-Creole Imagination: Notes on Fleeing the Plantation
  • Aníbal José Aponte Colón
Michaeline Crichlow and Patricia Northover. 2009. Globalization and the Post-Creole Imagination: Notes on Fleeing the Plantation. Durham and London: Duke University Press. 305 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8223-4441-4.

“We have to flee the plantation.” This is the earnest advice from Crichlow and Northover. We have to leave this old neo-Platonic Caribbean cavern. We need to stand up and turn around, because there are enough compelling reasons to drag Caribbean scholars out of this cave.

“Creolization and the Post-Creole Imagination” argues that creolization is empirically problematic because it is has been encapsulated within the confines of the plantation societies’ paradigm. On this reading, creolization discourses or the discussion of the process of intermixing and cultural change that produces a creole society in a context mediated by the transformations of the Caribbean space and time, have become fossilized by its immersion within three unfruitful parameters; namely, the geographic discourse, the state/nation discourse and their offspring named identity, and finally colonialism understood in binary opposition towards the colonizing powers. This has somehow allowed for area specialists to remain as echo-conveyors in the broader conversations about globalization and the Caribbean. They both take Nigel Bolland to task, taking his suggestion to fellow scholars in the Caribbean to challenge the Creole-society thesis by finding a new general theoretical framework for the analysis of social and cultural change in the face of Kuhnian anomalies that highlight the clash of cultures instead of the “activities of individuals who are located in institutions and differentiated by power” (p. 33).

In Globalization and the Post-Creole Imagination, Michaeline Crichlow and Patricia Northover move beyond the traditional anthropological focus on local communities’ retentions and survivals to explore more general questions about the Caribbean and its place in the contemporary world. They contend the creolization process in a variety of social and geographical locations in the Caribbean, increasingly seek to make claims of membership within a global community, claims that contest the stereotyped marginalization that has so far been the principal fruit of “globalization.” Crichlow and Northover argued that such claims demand new understandings of the global, centered [End Page 216] less on transnational flows and images of unfettered connection than how individuals from historically marginalized groups refashioned self, time and places that selectively constitute global society and the Creole societies of the Caribbean.

Creolization for Crichlow and Northover, is considered as a historical process of creative selection and cultural struggle within the realm of global and local structures in which actors, individual and collective, deliberate upon goals, perceive and evaluate alternatives, and select courses of actions. Creole practices and expressions must themselves be viewed as historically contingent actions to use a Marxist phrase of “men’s reciprocal actions.” That is, while these practices and expressions constitute the product of a structure of choices within which actors choose, their choice may be to alter social relations, like in the case of the “new” culture of protest among the young urban middle class youth in St. Lucia, they referred to in Chapter Four. Even though their collective objectives were not clearly defined, their performance did go through a process of choosing: perceiving, evaluating and deciding. If choice is seen as an aspect of the conditions these youths faced in life, they had no choice. However, if choice is an aspect of behavior, they did choose. Therefore theirs was an act defying the “established” norms of the Lucian democratic culture. On this reading, relations are not independent of human actions. It is not in this sense that they are objective. They are objective, indispensable, and independent of individual will, only in the sense that they constitute the conditions under which people struggle whether to transform, resist or accommodate to these conditions. In their own words, “It cannot be emphasized enough that the present relations of power pervasively operate to make available or unavailable certain choices, and therefore structure incompletely possibilities for place and presence” (p. 199).

So, we have to leave the plantation and jump into what? What kind of method will be considered the most...


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