Reggae culture as local knowledge: mapping the beats on southeast London streets

Henry, William Anthony and Back, Les (2021) Reggae culture as local knowledge: mapping the beats on southeast London streets. In: Narratives from beyond the UK Reggae Bassline: The System is Sound. Palgrave Studies in the History of Subcultures and Popular Music. Palgrave, UK, pp. 29-57. ISBN 9783030551605

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After half a century of reggae music it remains true that its story is not adequately documented in books or on the university curriculum. With some honourable exceptions the story of reggae in Britain remains hidden or at best only partially appreciated. Yet the form can be used to explain the significance of the stories told by a group of citizens that have been, in many cases, othered in the land of their birth. This means considering the city spaces and alternative public arenas, within which these stories that were direct counters to the dominant, mainstream, white representations of black life in Britain could be heard. Consequently, the voices of the British born/based performers that ensured the perpetuation of this socially, culturally and politically driven genre right up to the present moment will be given the prominence they deserve here.
Our argument in this chapter is that in order to tell and show the story of ‘bass culture’ we need to find new ways to bridge the gap between the social worlds in which the music is made, its collective memory sustained, and the spheres of official academic knowledge. We focus on an experiment with showing, telling, recording and mapping local histories of reggae culture in South East London, to access these very public ongoing intergenerational discussions about what it means to be black, African, Caribbean etc. in the UK. It is crucial we do so here because such discussions represent the types of historical and contemporary cultural concerns that question the role of aesthetics in the process of any racialised form of identification. This also forms part of the internal registers by which an ‘Africentric’ ‘consciousness’ is understood through discussions about the reality of the racist exclusionary practices, that need consideration in any meaningful account of black subjectivities as represented in the reggae performance.

Item Type: Book Section
Identifier: 10.1007/978-3-030-55161-2_3
Subjects: Education
Social sciences > Communication and culture
Social sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: William Anthony Henry
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2020 13:34
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2022 02:45


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