Document Type


Publication Date

January 2001


This paper examines efforts by the Jamaican government and its surrogates to control the Rastafarian movement and reggae music. Since the 1970s, the Jamaican establishment has employed an adjustment tactic, co-optation, to transform reggae music and Rastafari into a cultural attraction. In recent years, however, Rastafarian images and reggae have become increasingly important in the promotion of Jamaica’s tourist industry. The Jamaican government and its supporters have marketed the Rastafarian movement and reggae music as part of Jamaica’s “cultural heritage.” As a result, the Rastafarian movement has declined as a political and social force in Jamaica. In sum, reggae and Rastafari have evolved from the category of internal identity marketing to place/tourism marketing.