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Becoming RastaOrigins of Rastafari Identity in Jamaica$
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Charles Price

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814767467

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814767467.001.0001

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The Positive Power of Stigma and Black Identity

The Positive Power of Stigma and Black Identity

(p.98) 3 The Positive Power of Stigma and Black Identity
Becoming Rasta

Charles Price

NYU Press

This chapter examines how people like the Rastafari come to place Blackness and religion at the center of their self-concept, how they turn stigma into an asset, and how these acts relate to fashioning a collective identification called Rastafari people. It uses nigrescence theory, a discrete formulation of Black identity theory, to explain the processes involved in becoming and being Rastafari. The nigrescence model explains why and how people elevate Blackness to a primary identification imbued with satisfying meaning. In order to attend to the moral and religious dimensions of Rastafari identity, the chapter also incorporates some ideas from religious conversion theory into its conception of nigrescence.

Keywords:   stigma, collective identity, nigrescence theory, Rastafari identity, religious conversion theory, Black identity theory

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