Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in by Elise Andaya

By Elise Andaya

After Cuba’s 1959 revolution, the Castro govt sought to instill a brand new social order. Hoping to accomplish a brand new and egalitarian society, the kingdom invested in rules designed to advertise the wellbeing and fitness of ladies and kids. but as soon as the Soviet Union fell and Cuba’s financial issues worsened, those courses started to cave in, with severe effects for Cuban families.

Conceiving Cuba deals an intimate examine how, with the island’s political and fiscal destiny in query, replica has turn into the topic of heated public debates and agonizing deepest judgements. Drawing from a number of years of first-hand observations and interviews, anthropologist Elise Andaya takes us within Cuba’s families and clinical platforms. alongside the best way, she introduces us to the ladies who combat with the tough query of whether or not they can have the funds for a toddler, in addition to the medical professionals who, with in basic terms meager assets at their disposal, fight to stability the desires in their sufferers with the mandates of the state.

Andaya’s groundbreaking learn considers not just how socialist guidelines have profoundly affected the methods Cuban households think the longer term, but additionally how the present predicament in copy has deeply inspired usual Cubans’ perspectives on socialism and the way forward for the revolution. Casting a sympathetic eye upon a afflicted nation, Conceiving Cuba provides new existence to the idea that the private is often political.

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Additional resources for Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in Post-Soviet Cuba

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But this is not a story about the inexorable march from socialism to capitalism. This narrative has been problematized by many scholars of the former Soviet Union (Gal and Kligman 2000; Verdery 1996), while the rise of the new socialism in Latin America also troubles any attempts to locate socialism as a now-moribund grand social experiment of the twentieth century. Moreover, many Cubans both young and old still actively believe in the fundamental principles of socialist egalitarianism and social supports—especially as many taken-for-granted services have been whittled away given the state’s ongoing economic difficulties—and are engaged in vigorous, if not always fully public, debates about the shape of the revolution in the future.

Heated debates, both within families and among policy-makers, revealed deep social tensions around the reshaping of the Spanish colonial ideologies that linked womanhood to reproduction—seen as both childbearing and responsibility for reproductive labor—as well as the degree to which the state should intervene into “private” gender and familial relations. Cuban women’s fight for their vision of a gender egalitarian society has been the subject of a number of publications by both Cuban and outside observers,1 while Cuban social scientists have examined various facets of gendered and family life.

INTRODUCTION 21 Interviewees were diverse. Categorized according to generational cohorts, six women and three men were children or young adults at the time of the revolution, eighteen women and eight men reached adulthood prior to the fall of the Soviet Union (1959–1988), and twenty-one women and nine men had reached the age of eighteen during the Special Period or its aftermath (1989–present). To the extent possible, I have tried to signal these generational identities not only by including respondents’ ages at the time of the interview, but also in my choice of pseudonyms.

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