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Caribbean Journeys

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Caribbean Journeys by Olwig, Karen Fog, 9780822339779
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  • ISBN: 9780822339779 | 0822339773
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 6/30/2007
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Caribbean Journeysis an in-depth ethnographic analysis of the cultural meanings of migration and home in three families of West Indian origin whose members are dispersed throughout the Caribbean, North America and Great Britain. Moving migration studies beyond its current focus on sending and receiving societies, Karen Fog Olwig makes migratory family networks the locus of her analysis. For the people whose lives she traces, being "West Indian" is not necessarily rooted in ongoing visits to their countries of origin, or in ethnic communities in the receiving countries, but rather in family narratives and the maintenance of family networks. The three families whose extended networks Olwig traces forward in time migrated more than sixty years ago. They left distinct West Indian islands and social, economic and cultural backgrounds. One family as part of the middle-class in a small British colonial town in Jamaica. Another had its roots in the French Creole rural communities in Dominica and the third family was from an African-Caribbean village of small farmers and fishermen on Nevis. Olwig interviewed approximately 150 family members living under highly varied social and economic circumstances in locations ranging from California to Leeds, Nova Scotia to Florida, and New Jersey to southern England. Through her conversations with several generations of these far-flung families, she gives insight into each family's educational, occupational, and socio-economic trajectories. Olwig contends that terms such as "Caribbean diaspora" wrongly assume a culturally homogeneous homeland. As she demonstrates inCaribbean Journeys, anthropologists who want a nuanced understanding of how migrants and their descendants perceive their origins and identities must focus on interpersonal relations rather than on collectivities and intimate spheres rather than public ones.

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