The Struggle for Recognition
DOI link for The Struggle for Recognition
The Struggle for Recognition book
The Methodist missionaries had been disappointed in their hope to establish, through the English culture of respectability, an orderly and independent free society of hard-working and pious people. As social and economic conditions deteriorated on Nevis during the nineteenth century, this came nevertheless to provide the primary framework within which the local, Nevisian struggle for social mobility and recognition took place. Rather, however, than providing an alternative to the colonial order, it became the embodiment of a new version of that order. On the one hand, the small minority of Black and Colored people who belonged to the merging middle class adopted the culture of respectability as their own and sought thereby to consolidate their claim to be the heirs of the colonial order. On the other hand, the vast majority of the people who were part of the lower class further developed and made visible their Afro-Caribbean culture by displaying it within the framework of the many institutions and traditions associated with the culture of respectability. In the process they engaged in a critical dialogue with the local middle class which, through its exclusive affiliation with the culture of respectability, can be seen to have furthered its own cause by alienating the lower ranks from the colonial society. Respectability therefore became, in a colonial context, the center of an intense cultural struggle which highlighted class divisions within the Afro-Caribbean population after Emancipation.