Journal Article

Between Cosmopolitanism and the National Slot: Cuba’s Diasporic Children of the Revolution

Published 1 January 2009 / By COMPAS Communications

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Although cosmopolitanism used to be associated with Western, elite practices, it has in recent years been used to describe a wider array of practices by non-elite and non-Western groups. This article explores the cosmopolitanism of Cuba’s “children of the revolution” living in Spain. They are those now young adults who were born in Cuba after the revolution and who were brought up to become the socialist New Man. Theirs was a world of socialist cosmopolitanism, which simultaneously was infused with commitment to a national, territorially-based political project: an independent, socialist Cuba. However, some of these New Men and New Women now embrace ideals of cosmopolitan individualism rather than the patriotic socialism with which they were inculcated as children. Yet the cultural tools that the children of the revolution make use of in their practices and narratives of cosmopolitanism paradoxically point back to revolutionary Cuba. The article argues that cosmopolitanism as a lived practice owes to experiences within the Cuban socialist-national project and is in effect a response to the ineffectiveness of this project, not necessarily a substantive opposition to it. Social capital and habitus deriving from Cuban socialism gave the children of the revolution the desire to attain cosmopolitanism as part of their life-projects. This finding suggests that the relationship between nationalism and cosmopolitanism needs further rethinking.

Berg, M.L. (2009) 'Between Cosmopolitanism and the National Slot: Cuba’s Diasporic Children of the Revolution', Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 16(2): 129-156