CANCELLED: Anthropology Seminar Series 2020

Date Thursday 26 March 2020
Time 3:10pm - 4:30pm
Where K.G.06 (University of Waikato – Hamilton Campus)
Presenter Sharayne Bennett (Waikato, Anthropology PhD Candidate)
Contact Rachel Gosnell-Maddock
Contact email
Admission Cost Free


Transporting Identity: Understanding Jamaica’s Socio-Political Identity Through Public Transportation

Jamaica has a population half the size of New Zealand’s but a much lower density of vehicles per person. Public transport, therefore, looms large in social and economic life. The transport system becomes more than the role of shifting people from place to place, it is a constant backdrop of daily life, a microcosm of public life in which meaning is produced and  conveyed. In this space, Jamaicans individually and collectively negotiate who they are. Thus, the Kingston Metropolitan Region public transport system is an ideal landscape in which to understand popular theories of Jamaican cultural and political identity. This seminar will highlight that the system is not experienced according to the strict formal-informal moral dichotomy often postulated, but is more complex. Formal modes seem to have informal aspects to them, and informal modes seem to have formal characteristics. By looking at regulation, choice and representation in the mobility sphere, the wider informal economy of Jamaica is open to further exploration. Sharayne Bennett is a PhD student of Anthropology at the University of Waikato. She completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Social Psychology at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, and graduate degree in Anthropology at the University of Waikato. Her research interests are currently in Economic Anthropology with a strong emphasis on informal economies.