Consumption, Temporality, and Celebration in Contemporary Santiago de Cuba

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In this article, I argue that the temporal experience of contemporary Cuba must be understood as co-constituted in both the struggles of daily life and cycles of celebration. As the socialist welfare state has tried to maintain quality of life in post-Soviet Cuba, the daily work of acquiring basic goods and services has increasingly become a struggle (una lucha). Yet, while everyday life is experienced as a struggle, Cubans are often seen reveling in the joyous experience of celebration at parties or annual festivals. Rather than view these events as spectacular, I argue that they are central to socialist temporality and the lived experiences of the doble moral, a set of shifting values and actions under post-Soviet Cuban socialism. Analyzing the ways in which Cubans living in Santiago de Cuba experience the celebratory aspect of Carnaval, birthday parties, and La Noche Santiaguera, a weekly street party, I argue that the temporal experiences of anticipation, inversion, and rejuvenation juxtaposed with the quotidian experiences of the struggle (la lucha) are central to the lived experiences of Cubanidad and socialism in Cuba today. [festivals, temporality, consumption, Caribbean, Cuba].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-814
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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