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Hickling FW. “The Psychology of Stardom in Jamaican Popular Culture: We Never Know Wi Woulda Reach Dis Far”. Wadabagei 2009, 11(2), 9-40

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Clientelist relationships in the inner-city communities of downtown Kingston and St. Andrew, Jamaica, have seen a tendency toward a change in patrons from the politician to the drug don. This situation is interesting for several reasons. First, clientelism has served to divide the urban working class and led to partisan-political violence that has ensured the continuance of what Martz (1998: 317) has called a "bi-party hegemony," thus serving to perpetuate a capitalist society. Second, the intense divisions that have been fostered by the two political parties highlight the fact that clientelism can be more than a material relationship, contributing to the formation and maintenance of a political identity. Finally, as a former British colony, Jamaica has always been firmly embedded in and directed by global political and economic processes, and these relationships have had an impact on clientelism and on the tendency toward the change just described. Clientelist political relationships are dependent not only on internal political, social, cultural, and economic developments but also on external factors. Having defined clientelism both as a political mechanism and in the Jamaican context, the article examines the linkages between clientelism, violence, and political identity. The first section discusses the economic context within which clientelism develops and the roles of the internal political economy, neoliberalism, and the state in clientelist distribution. The second part explores the specifics of the Jamaican case, highlighting the impact of clientelism on culture and power relationships in the marginalized communities of downtown Kingston and St. Andrew and the complex and blurred transition from political don to drug don.
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