1. To select a field site, I chose a community that was small enough to be
studied by one ethnographer working alone but that also included a reason-
ably representative distribution of the ethnic diversity of the Guyana coastal
strip, where approximately 90 percent of Guyana's population resides. For
these reasons field work was conducted, first in the summer of 1976, and
then from 1979 to 1980, in a coastal community in Demerara, the smallest
but most densely populated county that has an ethnically representative
sample of the population inhabiting the coastal areas of Guyana's three
counties. In doing so, I also admit to having selected a coastal, regional
perspective from which all other analytic movements between the stances it
contains take place. In this sense, the cultural reality constructed in this
treatment should be taken as an extended hypothesis on the nature of the
homogenizing process, to be tested against other regional perspectives in
t. On the Politics of Cultural Struggle
Cited in Epstein 1978:1; quoted in Leslie 1971:145.
The allusion here is to Mannoni's use of Shakespeare's Tempest charac-
ters, Ariel, Prospero, and Caliban, in his treatise on the psychology of
colonization (see Mannoni 1964:Part II, chaps. 1 and
Although Ariel is
generally the figure of the good native, here the intention is to suggest that
in the process of decolonization Valetta and Constantine are engaged in a
dialogue about what is to be the nature of the good native not yet born as
they face one another, aiming for a utopian world in which Prospero, the
civilized colonist, will not set the terms that define Caliban's transformation
from semihuman to true human and good native. Under these conditions,
the problem for them is the uncertainty about who is Prospero and who is
Although they differ significantly in their approaches and conclUSions,
I found the following sources on nationalism most helpful in charting the
varying historical relations among class, ethnicity, and race across different
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