Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Seminar: The writings of Michael Manley

Michael Norman Manley (1924-97) was Jamaica's fourth Prime Minister (1972-80 and 1989-92) and a democratic socialist. Son of Norman Washington Manley, a statesman who campaigned for Jamaica self-government, Michael Manley became the leader of the Jamaican People's National Party a few months before his father's death in 1969. In this seminar, we will read Manley's The Politics of Change: A Jamaican Testament (1974), which was published during his first term as Prime Minister and meditates on the challanges facing a post-colonial Caribbean state and how these might be overcome.

Seminar questions

  • According to Michael Manley, what were the major challenges facing Jamaica after its independence? What did these stem from?
  • What does Michael Manley mean by the 'politics of change' and why was this necessary?
  • Explain the importance attached to psychology in Michael Manley's The Politics of Change.
  • What place does tourism hold in Michael Manley's plans for Jamaican development and how should this sector be managed?

In addition to discussing the seminar questions, think about the context in which The Politics of Change was written, as well as its intended audience and aims.

Required reading

Everyone should read pages 11-23 and 64-66 and as much of pages 76-122 as possible (at least pages 76-102) of the following:

Manley, Michael, The Politics of Change: A Jamaican Testament (London, 1990; originally published 1974).

In addition, please read at least one of pages 1-30 (which discusses the background to Manley's first term) and pages 31-66 (which considers the first term itself) of the following:

Panton, David, Jamaica's Michael Manley: The Great Transformation (1972-92) (Kingston, Jamaica, 1993).

Further reading

Forbes, John D., Jamaica Managing Political and Economic Change (Washington D.C., 1985).

Kaufman, Michael, Jamaica under Manley: Dilemmas of Socialism and Democracy(London: Zed, 1985).

Levi, Darrell E., Michael Manley: The Making of a Leader (London, 1989).

Manley, Michael, A Voice at the Workplace: Reflections on Colonialism and the Jamaican Worker (London: Deutsch, 1975).

Manley, Michael, Up the Down Escalator: Development and the International Economy - a Jamaican case study (London: Dentsch, 1987).

Meeks, Brian, Narratives of Resistance: Jamaica, Trinidad, the Carribbean (Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2000).

Nettleford, Rex (eds), Jamaica in Independence: Essays on the Early Years (Kingston, Jamaica; London, 1989).