If one way of defining our global community is a shared consumer culture, then most Cubans are on the outside looking in. Inclusions and exclusions in the world of Cuban consumption are rationalized from without in terms of market inefficiencies, and from within in terms of nationalist and socialist discourses. This book examines how ordinary people in Cuba carve out their own spaces for appropriate acts of consumption, exchange, and production within the contradictory normative and material spaces of everyday economic life.
Using food as a lens, Marisa Wilson uncovers the moral, ecological, political, and economic issues that Cubans in a rural town face on a daily basis – particularly disjunctures between the socialist–welfare ideal of food as an entitlement and the market value of food as a commodity. The book provides an important perspective on how alternative projects to resist or counteract mainstream economies depend on their ability to jump scale from local perspectives to wider normative and political economic relations, and back. Bridging the fields of geography and anthropology, this is a rare glimpse of everyday life in rural Cuba and of the complex political and economic negotiations ordinary people make in their daily ′struggle′ to sustain themselves.
List of Acronyms xxv
1 Introduction 1
2 The Historical Emergence of a National Leviathan 33
3 Scarcities, Uneven Access and Local Narratives of Consumption 73
4 Changing Landscapes of Care: Re–distributions and Reciprocities in the World of Tutaño Consumption 99
5 Localizing the Leviathan: Hierarchies and Exchanges that Connect State, Market and Civil Society 121
6 The Scalar Politics of Sustainability: Transforming the Small Farming Sector 153
7 Conclusion 181