Chapter

Introduction

Amelia Rosenberg Weinreb

in Cuba in the Shadow of Change

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033693
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039695 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813033693.003.0001
Introduction

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This book introduces a population that, until now, has been un-theorized and under-described, despite their importance for any full understanding of contemporary Cuba. This group is called unsatisfied citizen-consumers. The book argues that they are a shadow public whose activity illuminates the cultural shifts and social and economic transformations taking place in Cuba in an era of late socialism. Scholars have argued that Cubans accept material scarcity as part of a revolutionary sacrifice; that the absence of ideal public spheres, elections, or freedom of assembly provides an alternative landscape upon which to explore agency. However, the Cuba described in this book, highlights the importance of purposeful obscurity, rather than activism, as a coping mechanism during the liminal years of a prolonged Special Period. Rather than sidelining consumer desire as superficial or apolitical, the book places it at the center of significant social change and citizen-state relationships.

Keywords: Cuba; family; citizen-consumer; late socialism; activism

Chapter.  7504 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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