Social Structure & Caribbean Society

General Course Information

Course Lecturer Name(s):  Damian E. Greaves

Course Director Name: N/A

Course Lecturer(s) Contact Information:; Ext. 3653

Course Director Contact Information: N/A 

Course Lecturer(s) Office Hours:  Tues & Thurs: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.; Fri.1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. 

Course Director Office Hours:  N/A

Course Lecturer(s) Office Location:  Ballsier Building, Upper level

Course Director Office Location: N/A

Course Support:    Nikisha Thomas:; 6392

Course Management tool: To learn to use Sakai, the Course management tool, access the link

Course Curriculum Information

Course Description: 

This course is designed to provide students with a firm grounding in Caribbean studies. It examines the social stratification of Caribbean societies and its major cleavages. It begins with a critique of classical theories of social stratification as proposed by Karl Marx, Max Weber and Davis & Moore among others. It will retrace the steps of history to examine and analyze the genesis of Caribbean social structure and its distinctive characteristics. The course will analyze aspects of sociological theorizing in the Caribbean specifically the Plantation, Plural and Creole society models. These models will be assessed to determine their utility in an understanding of the social, political and economic conflicts prevalent in contemporary Caribbean society and in the formation of Caribbean identity.

Course Objectives: 

Students should:

SOC – PO-1 Define and apply key concepts in Caribbean social structure and their role in understanding contemporary Caribbean Society

SOC – PO-2 Identify distinctive epochs of change through history and their contributions to Caribbean Social relations  

SOC – PO-3 Evaluate the utility of various theories and models of Caribbean Society to an understanding of Caribbean Social structure

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  1. Describe and understand key concepts in Caribbean Social Structure
  2. Trace the distinctive features of Caribbean social structure through history
  3. Apply key concepts of Caribbean Social Structure to an understanding of contemporary Caribbean Society
  4. Demonstrate a sociological understanding of contemporary Caribbean Society
  5. Provide a critique of theories of Caribbean society and their application to contemporary Caribbean Social structure
  6. Illustrate what combines and divides us as a resilient society in the Caribbean

Program Outcomes Met By This Course:

Students will be able to:

1. Apply classical and contemporary sociological perspectives to explain complex social issues and problems; particularly, Caribbean social reality

2.Demonstrate their critical thinking skills to sociological analysis.

3. Employ sociological research methods to investigate and explain social issues

SAS Grading Scale: Grades will be assigned as follows:

A  = 89.5% or better

B+ = 84.5 - 89.4%

B  = 79.5 - 84.4%

C+ = 74.5 - 79.4%

C = 69.5 - 74.4%

D = 64.5 - 69.4%

F = 64.4% or less

Course Materials:

Text: There is no special text recommended for this course

Supplementary Readings/Resources:  

Bridget Brereton – The White Elite of Trinidad, 1838-1950

Brian Moore – The Culture of the Colonial Elites of Nineteenth-Century Guyana

C.L.R. James – The Black Jacobins

C.L.R. James – The case for West Indian Self-Government

Colin Clarke – Religion and ethnicity as Differentiating Factors in the Social Structure of the

Caribbean (MMG Working Paper 13-06. ISSN 2192-2357

C.Y Thomas – The Poor and the Powerless

Derek Gordon – Class, Status & Social mobility in Jamaica

Eric Williams – British Historians and the West indies

Franklin W. Knight –   The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism

Franklin Knight. General History of the Caribbean: Vol.111. The Slave Societies of the Caribbean

F.S.J Legister – Only West Indians: Creole Nationalism in the British West Indies (Chap.2)

George Beckford – Plantation Society Model

George Brizan – Grenada Isle of Conflict (Chap 8: Slavery & the Plantation System1783-1833

Gordon K. Lewis – Main Currents in Caribbean Thought

Horowitz Michael (ed.) - Peoples & Cultures of the Caribbean

Johnson & Watson (ed.) – The White Minority in the Caribbean (Chap 2, 3, 5, &6)

Karl Watson – Salmagundis vs. Pumpkins: White Politics and Creole Consciousness in Barbadian Slave Society, 1800-34.

Lloyd Braithwaite – Social Structure in Trinidad – a Preliminary Analysis

M.G. Smith – Culture, Race and Class in the Commonwealth Caribbean

Office of the United Nations- United Nations Sub Regional Analysis of the Development Context in

Barbados and the OECS (2011)

Sharit Kumar Bhowmik – The Plantation as a Social System

Course Grading Requirement:

Evaluation Criteria

Deadline for Submission  

Percentage of Grade

Forum Discussion 1

Feb. 4th.


Midterm Paper  

March 4th


Panel Discussions

April 6th & 8th



April 27th


End of Term Paper

April 29th


Attendance & Participation






Course Requirements:

Attendance & participation in classes and timely completion of all assignments

Course Schedule

Jan. – May.





Mon.  17th

– 21st

Course Information/ Orientation, Introduction of class members; Team Building – Course Assignments


Module one: The Caribbean in Historical Perspective

Mon. 24th  

The Transition: From the Indigenous Peoples to the Enslaved

Wed 26th  

The Transition: From the Enslaved to the Emancipated

Fri. 28th

The Transition: From Settler Communities to Exploitation Societies

Mon. 31St.

Module Two: Application of Classical Theories of Stratification to Caribbean Social Structure

Functionalist Perspective

Wed. 2nd

Marxist Perspective: Class; Capitalist Economy; Conflict, Power & Superstructure

Fri. 4th  

Weberian Perspective: Class, Status, Power & Party

Deadline for Forum Discussion 1

Topic: How significant is Caribbean Plantation and

Enslavement History, to your understanding of Caribbean Social Structure? Justify your response.

Mon 7th  

Independence Holiday

Wed. 9th 

Module Three: Models of Caribbean Society

Plural Society model

Fri. 11th  

Plural Society Model

Mon. 14th 

Plantation Society Model

Wed. 16th 

Plantation Society Model

Fri. 18th

Plantation Society Model

Mon. 21st  

Creole Society Model

Wed. 23rd 

Creole Society Model

Fri. 25th 

Creole Society Model

Mon. 28th 

Classless Society Model

March Wed. 2nd.

 Classless Society Model

Fri. 4th  

Deadline for Mid-term paper

Topic: Choose One of the classical theories of stratification and discuss its application to Caribbean social structural arrangements.

Mon 7thFri.11th 

 Midterm Exams


Module Four: The White Minority in Caribbean Society

Mon. 14th 

The White Minority

Wed. 16th 

The White Minority

Fri. 18th 

The White Minority


Module Five: The Masses In Caribbean Society

Mon. 21st  

Caribbean Peasantry

Wed. 23rd 

Caribbean Peasantry

Fri. 25th 

Caribbean Peasantry


MODULE Six: Stratification System & Caribbean Social Transformation

Mon. 28th 

Race, Class, Colour, Gender & the Power Order

Wed. 30th 

Interplay of Race, Colour, Class & Gender, 

April Fri. 1st 

Good Friday Holiday

Mon. 4th  

Easter Monday


Panel Discussions:  Four Panel Presentations on the Applicability of the Four Models of Caribbean Society to Modern Caribbean Society Social Structural Arrangements

 Wed. 6th 

 Panel 1 & 2

 Fri. 8th

 Panel 3&4


Module 8: Social Mobility & Social Stratification in the Caribbean

Mon. 11th 

Occupational Mobility and Its Impact on Caribbean Social

Structural Relations

Wed. 13th 

 Impact of Social Mobility Patterns on Caribbean Social Structural Relations


Module 6: Social Cohesion - Inclusion and A sense of Belonging in Caribbean Society

Fri. 15th 

Social Cohesion - A Conceptual Approach

Mon. 18th

Issues Affecting Social Cohesion in Caribbean Society: Economic Opportunity

Wed. 20th

Social Pillars Affecting Social Cohesion: Protection

Fri. 22nd  

Social Pillars Affecting Cohesion: Educational Opportunity

Mon. 25th 

Social Pillars Affecting Cohesion:  Access to Health

 Wed. 27th 

Group Presentations

Fri. 29th  

Deadline for Submission of End of Term Paper

Topic: “An analysis of Caribbean social transformation must consider the region’s social structural relations”. Discuss.


Mon. 2ndFri. 6th 

Final exams


School of Arts and Sciences Master Syllabi — Info for All Sections

Plagiarism Policy

Academic Integrity

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Plagiarism is regarded as a cardinal offense in academia because it constitutes theft of the work of someone else, which is then purported as the original work of the plagiarist. Plagiarism draws into disrepute the credibility of the Institution, its faculty, and students; therefore, it is not tolerated” (p. 48).

Plagiarism also includes the unintentional copying or false accreditation of work, so double check your assignments BEFORE you hand them in.

Be sure to do good, honest work, credit your sources and reference accordingly and adhere to the University’s Honor Code. Plagiarism and cheating will be dealt with very seriously following the university’s policies on Plagiarism as outlined in the Student Manual.

Your work may be subject to submission to plagiarism detection software, submission to this system means that your work automatically becomes part of that database and can be compared with the work of your classmates.

Attendance Requirement

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Students are expected to attend all classes and or clinical rotations for which they have registered. Although attendance may not be recorded at every academic activity, attendance may be taken randomly. Students’ absence may adversely affect their academic status as specified in the grading policy. If absence from individual classes, examinations, and activities, or from the University itself is anticipated, or occurs spontaneously due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, proper notification procedures must be followed. A particular course may define additional policies regarding specific attendance or participation” (p. 9).

Examination Attendance

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

All matriculated students are expected to attend all assigned academic activities for each course currently registered. Medical excuses will be based on self-reporting by students. Students who feel they are too sick to take an examination or other required activity on a specific day must submit the online SAS medical excuse, which is available on Carenage. Students are only allowed two such excuses a year. Upon consultation with the Director of University Health Service, the third excuse will result in a mandatory medical leave of absence. The policies regarding make-up examinations are at the option of the Course Director” (p.46).

For additional specific examination policies and procedures, refer to the St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020), pages 31 through 37.

Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services Policy

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

A student with a disability or disabling condition that affects one or more major life activities, who would like to request an accommodation, must submit a completed application form and supporting documentation to the Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) located in the Dean of Students Office. It is highly recommended that students applying for accommodations do so at least one month before classes begin to allow for a more efficient and timely consideration of the request. If a fully completed application is not submitted in a timely fashion, an eligibility determination may not be made, and accommodations, where applicable, may not be granted prior to the commencement of classes and/or examinations” (p. 8).


It is the responsibility of the student to read and understand the policies, laws, rules and procedures that while they could affect your grade for a course, have not been specifically outlined in the course syllabus. These are contained in the St. George’s University Student Manual.