chapter  41
20 Pages

Folk

The work of troubling the idea of the nation in the Caribbean in this more contradictory moment requires us to call its meta-narrative, ‘the folk’, into question. My task here is to begin to deconstruct some of the assumptions about the over-determined yet under-theorized concept of ‘the folk’ and to excavate some of its significant ideological positions in Caribbean discourse. I hope to illustrate why the re-routing of the explicit debates about ‘the folk’ after the 1970s was premature. Indeed, Caribbean writers and critics continue to deploy certain constructions of the folk in the service of cultural nationalism, anti-colonialism, creolization and ‘authentic’ Caribbean aesthetics. This genealogy of the folk in Caribbean discourse serves as analytical context for examining the contestations over the meanings of the folk and the varied political investments in the folk throughout Caribbean literary history.