Cuban society, Ethnic difference, Ethnic equality
This paper examines the meaning of ethnicity in contemporary Cuba. By conceptualizing inequality as structured in both the public and private realms of society, I argue that the private realm should be given equal weight in social research on ethnic inequality. The paper differentiates between structural inequality in the public realm, which has been largely addressed by the previous literature on Cuban society, and the meaning of ethnic difference at the cultural level, which shapes the nature of social interactions in the private realm. Drawing on both the sociology of culture and cinema studies, I analyze Cuban films for representations and discourses of ethnic difference. As expressive cultural forms, films are not merely reflective of an “objective” meaning of ethnicity in society, but rather are part of a more complex process of interpretation, expression, and creation of meaning. Initial findings reveal the persistence of ethnic distinctions in the private realm of Cuban society, despite a strong political rhetoric and official state policy of ethnic equality. That ethnic distinctions can persist despite little evidence of structural inequality indicates a discontinuity between structural-level change and cultural change, and suggests the possibility of deepening ethnic inequality as Cuba transitions to a new economic/political arrangement.
Budelman, Shannon N. (Shannon Nicole), ""Especiallly the Mulato Ones Like to Dance” Cuban Films and Discourses of Ethnic Difference" (2002). WWU Honors Program Senior Projects. 156.
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Motion pictures--Cuba; Motion pictures--Social aspects--Cuba; Ethnicity--Cuba; Socialism and motion pictures--Cuba
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