This introductory chapter ponders on Rastafari identity formation, citing both race and religion as central in becoming Rastafari. It briefly traces the origins of this identity in a morally configured orientation of Blackness in Jamaica, then explores how this identity eventually spread into a social movement, if not a collective identity. Furthermore, this chapter details some of the interviews and anecdotes, as well as the analytical frameworks used, to make sense of the voices and experiences of the Rastafari, stressing that both dimensions are equally important to an understanding of racial formation, ethnogenesis, and how individuals position themselves in relation to both.
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