Home Institution

Brandeis University

Publication Date

Spring 2006

Program Name

Jamaica: Gender and Development


This study explores the extent to which females are liberated or oppressed in dancehall in Kingston, Jamaica. Using a qualitative approach and feminist perspective, I explore dancehall culture and the ghetto communities on which it centers. Participant observation allowed me to experience the dynamics of the dancehall space. Using in-depth interviews, I assessed my observations with the opinions of dancehall fans and other community members. Ultimately, it becomes clear in this study that though heterosexual females are liberated with their freedom of sexual expression, dancehall is still has a deeply patriarchal structure. Heterosexual males dominate dancehall by oppressing heterosexual females, refusing to acknowledge the sexuality of homosexual females, and strongly stigmatizing homosexual males.


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Women's Studies


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