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Like Bush Fire

Like Bush Fire (June 2016)
Male social participation and violence in urban Belize
Authors: Herbert Gayle, Virginia Hampton and Nelma Mortis

This book is based on the study “Male Social Participation and Violence in Urban Belize”, which was completed in 2010, Belize’s first comprehensive study of social violence. Born out of the Mayflower Street grenade attack on May 21, 2008, the study was designed to focus on urban violence. The 2,210 persons interviewed included school children, community members, police officers, government officials-and even members of the Crips, Bloods and MS13 gangs.

The study utilized a cocktail of qualitative, quantitative, participatory and integrated methods to create a research base that could inform policy changes necessary to secure the social order needed to take Belize through its post-independence transition. Six years later it becomes inevitable that this book would also critically asses the changes that have been effected in Belize by the Report. Clearly the energy that created the study remained high for a couple years; nonetheless, since then things have become worse, with Belize jumping from a top ten position to being among the top five most violent countries in the world. Five years later data from the Living Standards Measurement Survey (2015) suggest that the standard of living is not becoming better in Belize, with 50 percent of children and 43 percent of youth living below the poverty line.


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Dr Gayle is also the director for Fathers Incorporated and Head of Department. He can be reached at

Broken Promises, Hearts and Pockets: A Century of Betrayal of the Jamaican Working Class


Anil Verma, professor and director of the Centre for Industrial Relations & Human Resources and Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, said: "Orville Taylor documents a century of labour history in Jamaica as only he can. This story needs telling, not only for its historical significance, but also to provoke debate over the future of labour policy. It should be an essential reading for all policymakers, researchers and students who strive to create a more prosperous Jamaica through better labour policy."

Industrial relations consultant Novar P. McDonald also lauded Taylor for his outstanding work.

"Taylor's extensive research work enabled him to examine every aspect of Jamaica's

socio-economic and socio-political experience. This work will make an important contribution Ö in a field of endeavour which is so integrally linked to the everyday experiences of the Jamaican worker. An impressive addition to the existing inadequate body of knowledge for this field. The quality of the research and use of the information gleaned sets this book apart from anything else that I have read during my over 50 years in the areas of endeavour which it covers.

- Excerpt taken from the Jamaica Gleaner (Article Published:Thursday | January 29, 2015 | 11:45 PM)

Dr Orville Taylor is Senior Lecturer in the department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work and a Broadcaster at RJR Communications Group
Email him at: or

A Storm called Erica: Lessons from a post disaster response

- By Aldene Shillingford MSW and Nicola Williams MSW 


August 2015 saw the Commonwealth of Dominica devastated by tropical storm Erica, which left in her wake 30 direct deaths and significant destruction of infrastructure. The Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs in Dominica, requested the assistance of the Social Work Unit of the University of the West Indies (UWI). This was facilitated through the Caribbean Internship Programme (CIP), a regional partnership and service-learning initiative of the UWI.  Three graduate interns and a former social work lecturer were deployed to assist with enhancing the response to the challenges associated with post-disaster recovery.

Staff of two social service agencies, two graduate psychology interns and one social work intern, participated in a post disaster community-based psychosocial support workshop conducted by the former social work lecturer. The psychology interns later assisted staff in managing the increased number of trauma cases which turned up at the agency and the social work community-practice intern, replicated the workshops and engaged in other relevant community development activities. The reports from the field  were examined and revealed that this engagement is mutually beneficial in three major ways: 1.) it affords social science students hands on experience with the disaster management and mitigation processes; 2.) it fills an immediate need for appropriate skill sets for community-based psychosocial intervention post disaster and; 3.) it generates new areas of knowledge while enhancing the ability of local agencies to adequately respond to the full range of disaster outcomes at the individual, community and national levels.
Natural hazards such as storms, earthquakes and hurricanes are part of the reality for Caribbean communities. Therefore, the analysis of these experiences can aid with developing appropriate training curricula for practitioners and generate a framework for use with disaster mitigation in the Caribbean


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Research Work in Salvador, Brazil

- By Doreen Gordon


Profile – Dr Doreen Gordon
After completing my PhD, I became interested in exploring social inequality and the intersections of race, class, and gender in comparative contexts. I took up a Postdoctoral Fellowship position in the Human Economy Programme at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. The Human Economy approach, as outlined by anthropologist Keith Hart in his recent works, challenges the abstract and impersonal models of human behaviour that dominate mainstream economics and development studies. A human economy approach gives priority to what people really do and think, while addressing humanity as a whole. My contribution to these debates was to examine race and inequality in emerging economies such as South Africa and Brazil, resulting in a book chapter entitled “Negotiating Inequality: Black Middle Classes in Salvador, Brazil” in the first volume of the Human Economy Series entitled People, Money and Power in the Economic Crisis: Perspectives from the Global South (edited by Keith Hart and John Sharp and published by Berghahn Press in 2014).

My publications explore themes of race, gender, class, nationality, religion, and concepts of beauty and appearance in black communities across the diaspora, utilizing critical, post-colonial, and feminist perspectives. I am involved with in the “Dying to Be Beautiful” initiative in our department, with the aim of encouraging inter-disciplinary work focusing on body image and perceptions of beauty in black communities across the diaspora. Furthermore, I am involved in international and regional collaborations that aim to advance anthropological understandings on the intersections of race, class, gender, and nationality in relation to experiences and structures of inequality.

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The mortality of Young Adult Men in the Caribbean, Ageing, and Intimate Partner Violence among Young Jamaican Men Work

- By Sharon Priestley



This study examines the gender gap in life expectancy in Jamaica which ranges from 3.33 years in 1945-47 to 7.62 years at birth in 2010-12 when life expectancy at birth for both sexes increased from 52.9 years in the earlier period to 74.2 years in the latter. However at the global level the gender gap in mortality is in flux. In human populations more boys than girls are born but the disparity in survival just after birth due to higher male mortality is reduced with increasing age so that by adolescence there is little difference. While the increase in length of life are apparent for either sex, at every age through 2002-04, declines though slight (<1year) are observed for males over the last intercensal period. Given concerns raised by the PAHO/WHO about the sharp increase in premature deaths of males aged 10-24 from assault (homicides) and road traffic injuries, and the gender disparity in mortality rates from these two causes evident in every five year age group over the range, the risk profiles of young men are implicated. The paper explores the social and cultural context of male disadvantage in mortality which threaten population longevity and therefore sustainability. (199 words)


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Blackness and Social Mobility in Brazil
Contmeporary Transformations
(Type: Book)

This book examines the emergence of the black middle classes in urban Brazil, after 30 years of black mobilization and against the backdrop of deep economic, cultural, and political transformations taking place in recent decades within the country. One of the consequences of such transformations is said to be the restructuring of gender, race, and class relations. Utilizing qualitative research techniques such as ethnography, interviews, life histories, and focus groups among Afro-descendant families in the Northeast region of the country, the book explores contemporary race, class, and gender inequalities and their impact on daily lived experience. It reveals the dynamics underlying upward mobility, the diverse modes and experiences of social ascent into the middle classes, and the everyday negotiations involved in establishing one's status in the socio-racial hierarchy, which are not captured by other, more "macro" lenses. While some of these patterns are not peculiar to black people, this book argues that "race" shaped the contours and possibilities of social mobility in particular ways. This book is critical reading for specialists in the fields of inequality and race, class, and gender relations.


Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan (c) 2022
Author: Doreen J. Gordon, Ph.D.


hard cover

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