I was writing an outline for my paper and a part of the instructions asks for “research on the cultural, social, political, and historical contexts”. I was working udner the impression that the rasta movement as a whole is the thing to center the political aspect on. However, as I did more research, I came across this article http://www.dreadygirl.com/historyofdreadlocks.htm and realized that I was defining “political” too narrowly in this case, which is surprising to me because I usually apply the term “poltiics” to everyday conversations and debates and in a broader manner. With this, I realized that the information I wanted to include in the “social” section also applies to the “political” section and now, it seems a bit less excruciating to write my paper since for me, making connections is usually the first step.

“Political motivations

The rise in popularity of reggae music in the 1970s prompted an interest in locks internationally. The anti-establishment philosophy of Rastafari, echoed in much of the reggae of the time, had a particular resonance for left-leaning youth of all ethnicities — especially and primarily among African Americans but among counterculture white people as well.

Like the afro, locks had social and political ramifications. For some people of African descent, locks are a statement of ethnic pride. Some see them as a repudiation of Eurocentric values represented by straightened hair. Others wear locks as a manifestation of their political beliefs and view locks as symbols of black unity and power, and a rejection of oppression and imperialism.

In white counterculture, locks have become popular among groups such as the “anti-globalization” movement and environmental activists  sharing a sense of a rebellion against the establishment and established norms. Dreadlocks are also popular in the punk and rave subcultures. Apart from anti-establishment politics and spiritual reasons locks also can be a means of creative self-expression, a symbol of individualism and a form of rebellion against traditional ties and restrictions. For example the members of the Cybergoth movement in Europe set out to shock with creative hair displays like wildly coloured lock wigs, dread falls and elaborate extensions complemented by dramatic make-up to oppose representations of authority and conformity.”


Also, I realized that I could also expand on the different subcultures in the west as part of the political aspect, instead of just briefly mentioning them.

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