What Goods Mean in Cuba

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:
What Goods Mean in Cuba

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This chapter focuses on the means of obtaining goods and information about goods in the late-socialist era: state-issued brand-name goods and goods in a state of shortage. It describes the role of external influences, particularly global media, hand-delivered gifts, and family abroad, in provoking a sharp sense of relative deprivation based on intimate knowledge about goods. It discusses what goods mean to Cuban citizen-consumers and what they tell themselves and others about goods: what constitutes luxury versus necessity; the cultural importance of brand names, quality, and pricing; and the global flows and interpersonal exchanges that allow Cubans to have intimate knowledge of and firsthand experience with foreign products and lifestyles. It also considers Cuba's placement in global “millennial capitalism”, and the importance of goods in the development of citizen-consumers' shared social imaginary, as well as the regime's shift away from state socialism.

Keywords: shortage; Cuban goods; global media; consumer frustrations; state socialism

Chapter.  6926 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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