“La Lenin is my Passport”: Schooling, Mobility and Belonging in Socialist Cuba and its Diaspora Mette Louise Berg

Introduction

Based on an ethnographic study of transnational networks of alumni of an academically selective boarding school in Havana, this article explores the nexus between mobility, schooling and belonging in the context of socialist Cuba and its diaspora. Drawing on Goffman’s work, I argue that the boarding school experience was transformative; it facilitated or consolidated social mobility for its pupils, which later, for many, led to geographic mobility in the form of study and work outside Cuba. After graduating, alumni continue to identify with the school and to reproduce their alumni identities. The affective webs of belonging forged through family links and friendships fostered at the school constitute emotionally sustaining networks that also provide material support after migrating. I propose that the school represents a site of identification for a globally dispersed non-national diaspora and argue that migration scholars need to embed international migration within people’s lives more broadly.

Berg, M.L. (2014), ‘”La Lenin is my Passport”: Schooling, Mobility and Belonging in Socialist Cuba and its Diaspora’, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power (early access online)