The point of departure for this thesis is how the relationship between America and St. John affect the process of identification for the Afro-Caribbean people living on St. John. The island is today a popular tourist destination, something which has implied a number of extensive changes in a relatively short period of time. I start out by presenting the island in a historical perspective, with reference to earlier empirical work done by Karen Fog Olwig. She focused on the exchange system as a symbol of an common identification with the cultural heritage of St. John. This generalized reciprocity manifested itself in the exchange of food and favours among the St. Johnian people, with emphasis on solidarity and sharing. Following a cumulative research tradition I relate my empirical work to the study of Olwig, considering the changes since the late seventies when she started her fieldwork. As America is an influential agent in the community of St. John today, I find it fruitful first to look at the various areas of the community, followed by the divergent views and attitudes people have regarding the American impact. This constitutes a background for my interpretation of the process of identification. After I have presented my empirical material in a "local" context I move on to a more "global" frame, as the elements which often are perceived as dichotomies can make a new meaning in a complementary relationship combing both local and global influences. I regard the historical circumstances vital for the development of identification, and have included a brief look at the development of black consciousness in a Afro-American perspective. Further I emphasise an interpretation of the global relationship between West and non-West, whiteness and blackness, centre and pheripery, interrelating these dynamic processes to throw some light on my empirical material. The process of modernisation is briefly touched with the social stratification in mind, considering peoples different starting-points and outlooks on life as influential factors. This is also illustrated in my empirical material, with reference to different life stories. The presentation and discussion of my empirical material is related to theoretical contributions from Olwig (1985), Fanon (1952), Gilroy (1993), Cohen (2000), Giddens (1991) and Said (1993) to mention the most quoted works. During my discussion I want to highlight how the process of self-identification has developed in the asymmetrical power relationship between St. John and America. The lack of recognition from America and the ambivalence people show to this influential agent have promoted various reactions, manifested in different forms. Some would strive to achieve recognition, others would focus on an opposition which could take form of both a complementary focus, or a dichotomy. The articulation of an alternative cultural consciousness is in this aspect a most central issue. This black essentialism is a strategy which could be associated with the generalized reciprocity which Olwig saw as a central element for the St. Johnian identification. Black essentialism as a form of identification policy would contribute to reach the ultimate goal for the person involved; achieve recognition as a self-defined different but equal person.