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Dixon, Predencia

Dixon, Predencia

PhD graduate @ University of Birmingham


Predencia Dixon recently completed her PhD research into the causes and consequences of changing Jamaican death rituals at the University of Birmingham. Although the research was located in the School of History and Cultures, she has previously lectured in social learning theory in the Department of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. Born in Jamaica, her interests in tracing her African connections lead her to researching the African origins and influences of Jamaican death rituals.

Geographical location : Birmingham

Research Area and Interest : origins and influences of Jamaican death rituals

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Feeling the Folk


Death of the nine-night: Jamaican heritage and identity crisis in response to changing death rituals
Summary: Recent research was carried out in response to concerns about the changes to Jamaican death rituals to establish the nature and extent of the changes. The findings, while determining the causes and the resulting consequences, highlight that the changes are experienced by sectors of the Jamaican communities in the UK diaspora as crises of heritage and national identity. This is more prevalent in the Windrush generation and those in the lower socioeconomic groups. This paper aims to demonstrate that the Windrush generation play a pivotal role in the intergenerational transmission of the rituals as heritage in the UK, and to illustrate the impact of the transformation of the rituals on Jamaicans’ national identity in the UK. The study employed interpretive philosophy and mixed method data collection including semi-structured interviews, oral history and ethnographic observations of death events. Thematic analysis was used to identify the main contributors to the changes as acculturation, the medicalisation and professionalisation of death, increased time from death to disposal of the body, and changing values and religious beliefs. The discussion of the findings is framed within the concept of crisis of change and is viewed through the lens of the Windrush, Black Lives Matter and COVID 19 pandemic crises.

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