Foster” ing caribbean studies c. A. P. E caribbean society, culture and development

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“Foster”-ing Caribbean Studies C.A.P.E Historians of the Future, 2009









Historians of the future, All rights reserves, 2009


  • About the worksheet ; Page 3

  • Typical Examination Instructions; Page3

  • For the students; Pages 3

  • Section A: Module One Essay Questions (2003-2006) Pages 4-14

  • Section B: Module Two Essay Questions (2003-2006) Pages 15- 25

  • Section C: Short Answer Questions Module 1- 3 (2003- 2005) Pages 26- 40

  • Bibliography; Page 40

About the Worksheet:

The worksheet is design to demonstrate how cape Caribbean Studies questions can be interpreted and answered to achieve Maximum marks. From the Content, it is clear that it consists of THREE sections:

Section A: Module One Essay Questions

Section B: Module Two Essay Questions

Section C: Short Answer Questions
Typical Exams Instruction

  1. The duration of Paper I is I hour 30 minutes. Candidates must answer 15 short answer questions.

  1. The duration of Paper II is 3hours, which means that each question can get 45minutes of your concentration. Candidates are asked to answer FOUR questions overall, Two from each module presented on the paper.

  1. You should NOT bring notes are other textual materials into the examination room for use during your examination

For the Students
Students are reminded that the questions set by the Examination Council are intended to assess the range of content covered by the Syllabus. It is therefore important that a total coverage of the syllabus is done. Candidates need to make their responses to questions informant and in doing so offer a high level of analytical framework. It is therefore important for students to disregard their C.S.E.C. Level of information. You are now older and should therefore know how to handle advanced questions. Just keep in mind:

  • Read questions carefully before you answer. The more you read the more you can highlight specific details needed for the response.

  • For this particular subject it is not necessary that students to recall over 7 or 8 points. Any four or five points clearly explained can give you maximum marks.


  1. CAPE 2003

Describe the factors that have led Caribbean migrants living in metropolitan countries to create a “home away from home.”

(20 marks)

From the Post Independence Era, Caribbean people had seen it fit to migrate to the metropolitan countries. Up to the 1980s, it was quite evident that more and more people migrate and the resultants are seen on our families and levels of interaction among others. But, let us consider the factors in these metropolitan countries that would allow these Caribbean people to create a “home away from home”, that is to feel comfortable:

  1. For most parts, the Caribbean region is modeled off the metropolitan countries. We share similar languages i.e. Spanish, English, Dutch and French, architectural styles, education, justice system, crops, dishes etc. As such we can feel comfortable around the natives of the country we settle and merge along with them over time.

  1. Many Caribbean people sought to promote the cultural activities of the region. They organized carnivals, open Caribbean restaurants, introduce their means of entertainment e.g. reggae. Literature, sports etc.

  1. Economic struggle is one of the main reason people decide to migrate, as such they are able to create a home because there is the availability of employment. Since our educational systems are highly similar, Caribbean people can apply and attain jobs in Metropolitan societies.

  1. Globalization makes the world smaller. Caribbean people are comfortable living away from home because they can always know what is occurring in the region. For examples there is the availability of Caribbean Newspapers (e.g. the stars and the Gleaner) through the internet.

  1. Many organizations are being formed throughout the globe which highlights current issues in the Caribbean region e.g. The Caribbean Diaspora Organization.

  1. There are many factors that have caused them to move away in the first place. Such problems as natural disasters, crime rates, over population and lack of technology among others. And there are factors in the metropolitan countries that attached them in the first place, e.g. Technological advancement, low crime rates, higher standards of living, better health facilities. It is therefore evident that another factor that caused them to create “a home away from home” is the many pull and push factors existing in the metropolitan and Caribbean region respectively.

  1. CAPE 2003

Describe how the physical landscape has influenced settlement patterns in the region.

(20 marks)

As people of needs and wants we live in a society where “location” is a necessity. As such, the physical landscape has influenced settlement patterns in the region. If one were to consider our history, it would give an insight on the way we are influenced in contemporary Caribbean societies.

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Pre- Columbian society was very much organized and it revolved around religion, agriculture, economy, and polities. The Indigenous populace (mainly the Caribs and Tanios) settled in areas with much water and fertile lands as they sought out areas where they could have plenty of resources to fit their nomadic lifestyle. The Europeans had come to the region in prospects of exploiting such resources and in an attempt to do so have established the region into an economic unit creating large scale plantations on the best suited lands. Hence from that we get most of our points. Physical landscape influenced the way we settle in the region in the following manner:

  1. The availability of Physical Resources: People are included to live in close proximity to their work place. Thus the availability of physical resources and the consequent development of industries attract high population densities. For example. Mining of bauxite near Mandeville in Jamaica and the refining of petroleum at Point- a – Pierre in Trinidad have resulted in high densities of population (settlement patterns) in these areas.

  1. The physical Features of the Land: It is quite evident that the physical features of the land determine the patterns of settlement. Flat or gently undulating lands are more attractive for settlements than mountains or swampy areas. Little people settle in the Blue Mountains as opposed to the Liguanea plains in Jamaica.

  1. People tend to live where there is the availability of Infrastructure. Infrastructure is determined by the physical landscape. Good roads are ideal on flat lands; water, electricity, schools, medical facilities, postal services and police stations are mostly found on areas that the physical landscape are capable to fulfill their purposes. People tend to settle in areas where certain comforts are afforded. These therefore influence the way industries are set out and as mentioned before people tend to live in areas near to their jobs.

  1. Some areas are prone to disasters and these are not considered ideal for settlement. In contemporary society, people avoid settling in areas where volcanoes are (e.g. in Montserrat) or areas with much soil erosion (e.g. in Haiti and beside any river bank).

  1. The fertility of the land is a great way that suggests how the landscape influences settlements. In an economic driven society, agriculture is an ideal occupation. In Trinidad for example, the western half of the island is rich and fertile and can be easily cultivated as opposed to the areas in the east which are much drier. Areas which are swampy, densely forested or has prevailing winds hinder the way people settle.

  1. CAPE 2003

During the Past three decades Caribbean music and Caribbean Festivals have gained widespread acceptance internationally. Analyze the nature of this impact for the Caribbean.

(30 marks)


From the days of Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley, International countries have seen the consciousness of Caribbean music and they embraced it. They looked beyond our music as they realize the potentials of the Caribbean region and they saw it fit to engage activity in our music (i.e. Reggae, calypso) festivals, carnivals etc. This has brought quite a “spot light” on the region, and its impacts are widespread.

Positive Impacts

  1. It showcases the island’s diversity in cultures. As such it creates a market where people can come and enjoy these cultures. More profits are therefore generated as more people want to come and experience the music and festivals thus promoting Tourism. As one can recall, Tourism is one of the main economic sectors of the Caribbean.

  1. As the growth of Tourism and the knowledge of Caribbean music circumnavigate the globe, more people become interesting in the industries. This means that the region sees quite a lot of foreign investors.

  1. More foreign investment in the Caribbean cultures benefits the overall Caribbean society. There is development in technology, physical and human resources as well as many infrastructures e.g. roads, stadiums

  1. It gives the region an overall “Identity” as their music, festivals, and means of entertainment brings them recognition. For example, Jamaica is known around the world as the Island of Reggae, Trinidad is known for its Carnivals and festivities. Not only does this help with the image of the Caribbean but it pumps pride and nationalism in its people to know that they are “unique”.

Negative Impacts

  1. As the Caribbean showcase its music and festivals more and more people from aboard aims to utilize its growing prosperity. The increase in foreign investors only means that people aim to benefit from it and therefore is exploitation the region’s culture.

  1. To fulfill their economic needs and meet with the demand of music, the people who invest in the culture of the Caribbean have to constantly promote it. Not only that, but to make it more appreciable with people of different cultures they sometimes try to merge our music with other genres such as rock, R&B and hip hop among other things. This increase in commercialization and intermixture with other genres means that there is loss of pureness of the Caribbean Music.

  1. There is a constant question of: Who benefit more? International Investors may bring a few benefits to the region but they also bring a lot of problems with the people. For most parts most of the benefits that come from the promotion of our cultures are going towards them and not the people of the region. This sometimes causes tension as people believe that if profits ought to be made then the Caribbean people are the ones to be given it.

  1. With the increase involvements of International investors and the growing levels of Tourism, the regions see the introduction of new cultures and so this leads to “cultural plurality”. As such many individuals (especially the younger generation) begin to lose their cultures due to inter-culturization.

  1. CAPE 2003/2006

Discuss the challenges of Caribbean society as it seeks to achieve national unity in the context of cultural diversity.

(30 marks)

The Caribbean Society has that similarity in history, geography, cultures and experiences which sets it apart from other regions of the world and thus gives it its Identity. A shared identity and experience or the subsequent embracing of different experiences that define the Caribbean will promote development as persons will be working for the greater good of the region as opposed to the sole benefits of their community/ segment of society. Historically, the Caribbean region had always sought to unite themselves into one main political, economic and social body. This they see as importance as it would promote economic prosperity, as well as protect individual countries of the region from the exploitation of bigger countries such as the U.S.A.

It is after all important to note that the Caribbean is still a very cultural diverse region as evident by its common state of multiculturalism. This can be a hindrance to the uniting/ federating process if persons remain in segregated groups based on their history as opposed to identifying themselves as a part of the general Caribbean and as such will be hesitant to participate in the process which will lead to the development of not just a section but all of the Caribbean.

As such it is important to note the many challenges the Caribbean region has as it seeks to achieve national unity:

  1. There is still a high level of insularity and social tension among the Caribbean people. We all share different cultures and experiences and this set us apart from each other. This cultural diversity and experiences creates a frame of mind in the people. As such people see themselves as ‘Jamaicans” or “Trinidadians” instead of “West Indians”.

  1. People still do not understand the concept of Caribbean Unity, nor do they see the importance of this unity. In order for us to fully unity people need to have an ideal understanding of the concept. It is after all evident that some sees it as purely economical, social or political. They should understand that uniting means enforcing all our common experiences, cultures.

  1. One of the main reasons for our cultural diversity has to be with our geographical locations. Though the Caribbean is located in one geographical area, the countries of the region aren’t. This distance between us create a problem of merging as well as communication.

  1. The Caribbean is modeled off the government of their metropolitan countries. While Jamaica comes from a British background, Guadeloupe is from a French framework. These political differences posed a problem of relations. Furthermore, most of the countries that even share the same political systems have changed over time. For instance, for the British West Indian Countries the government sought to change their appearance after their independences. In the Post- Independence era different laws, rules precedents etc. are added which are unique to that particular country. These political differences will create tension and problems if the region is placed under one political system.

  1. Historically, the Caribbean aims of uniting have always been under threat because the people of the region do not trust each other fully. This was evident in the West Indian Federation of 1958. Some countries believe that those countries of a poorer nature are exploiting their economic growth, the level of competition allow some countries to reject the freedom of movement, or common currency etc.

Try it yourself
CAPE 2006- 45 minutes

“All a we is one”.

Discuss the social challenges faced by Caribbean people in achieving Caribbean unity. (30 marks)

  1. CAPE 2004

Discuss the causes of Social Stratification in Caribbean Countries.

(20 marks)

Social inequality is the uneven distribution of wealth, power, prestige and influence (Tischler 2002). Social stratification exists when this inequality becomes patterned and institutionalized. As such, social stratification is structured social inequality. Haralambos and Halborn (2002) believes that social stratification refers to the presence of distinct social groups ranked one above the other based on such merits as prestige, influence and power.
The social structure of the Caribbean has been greatly influenced by the impact of colonialism and its attendant factors. Ascriptive factors such as Race and the complexion of one’s skin have contributed significantly in determining the life chances of Caribbean peoples. These factors were quite evident during the periods of slavery and Indentureship. Today, although social mobility is premised upon achieved factors such as education, there are still vestiges of the past and ascriptive factors still continue to play a role.

  1. The Plantation Society/ colour: Caribbean Sociologists have linked the social inequality present in contemporary society to the retention of the beliefs and activities that occurred during slavery. On the plantations, planters taught the slaves that colour is the main determinant of their living standards i.e. they were slaves because they have an inferior colour. Beckford notes that our system of Social stratification and population structure came directly from the plantation system, where light complexion, and European physical features were considered better than a black person.

  1. Indentureship/ race: The Indentureship period carries that notion of race and ethnicity as a main way to stratify people. Out of slavery, Europeans and Africans were divided on their race, and then by the late 1800s, with the introduction of new races and ethnic groups in the Caribbean we see a plural society based on Stratification. Smith notes that the Indentureship creates a plural society where people “mix but do not mingle”. Both Indentureship as well as slavery has created relatively small and racially ethnically fragmented societies.

  1. Education: In contemporary society, people are mostly stratified on basis of their education; this is mostly because we are living in a meritocratic society. People use education to determine the type of jobs an individual attains and thus determine the class on which an individual is placed. In is evident that an individual with an education background would more likely be in the middle class than the lower class.

  1. Wealth: It is evident that economic inequality is the main cause of the formation of different stratus. One’s wealth determines the class they are placed in society. The lack of wealth means that you are in the lowest class as opposed to those in the upper class who are affluence. For instance in Trinidad, even though the proportion of whites is small, they occupy some elite position in society because of their economic prosperity.

  1. Lack of fluidity in the social classes: As mentioned before the people of the Caribbean are still using the ascriptive factors based on their history stratify them. As such even with the increase in wealth and education people are still treated differently because of their colour, gender, race etc. There is therefore little flow of people between two classes.

  1. CAPE 2005

Explain how the tourist industry has helped to shape patterns of behaviour within Caribbean communities.

(20 marks)

Positive Impacts of Tourism on Caribbean people’s behaviour

  1. Tourism is an important source of foreign exchange. It helps create numerous jobs in the Caribbean society with respect to food, airlines, construction, entertainment etc These economic benefits have increased some persons standard of living and has increased their consumption patterns of international consumer goods.

  1. There are rapid changes in the actions of the Government. Since tourism is such an important part of the economy, the government must ensure the well being of the visitors as well as the locals. There is therefore accelerated attempt by the local and regional government to decrease social illnesses because of fear that it might decrease tourist arrival.

  1. There is the revitalization of unique cultural patterns that might help to market the region as a tourist destination.

Negative Impacts of Tourism on Caribbean people’s behaviour

  1. Prostitution and Immorality: What may be upheld as an appropriate standard of behaviour differ from one country to another. Some segments of the population in the Caribbean view with serious reservations the impact of mass tourism on the traditional values of the people. Resentment stem from the fact that homosexuals and lesbians from foreign countries are brought to our shores. The level of unemployment also fosters the growth of prostitution which seen by some nations as a viable economic option to poverty and hardship. The rise of prostitution eventually leads to health problems with the consequential spread of venereal diseases such as HIV or herpes.

  1. Brain Drain: Sociologists are concerned about the influences that the thousands of tourist who flocked our shores annually have on the behaviour of the social population. Tourists are seen as citizens of developed countries who possess wealth and affluences. This contrasts sharply with Caribbean countries where unemployment and poverty are widespread. It is interesting to discover the extent to which this fines the imagination of the average person in the Caribbean who wants to get a piece of the “better lives.” In search of higher standards of living the young people decide to migrate rapidly.

  1. Cultural plurality leads to the cultural erosion as persons try to mimic the cultural patterns of the tourists at the expense of their local or regional cultures. As such there is the introduction of new fashion of behaviours in Caribbean society with respect to fashion, language etc.

  1. CAPE 2004

Discuss the view that a “Caribbean Identity” is more clearly evident among Caribbean nationals who meet outside the region than it is among nationals in the Caribbean itself.

(30 marks)


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