20th Jan 2010 5:00pm-7:00pm

Grand Parade

Dr Thomas Carter (University of Brighton)

The Cuban Revolution is now fifty years young. It permeates and shapes everyday life throughout the country. Revolutions are, by their very nature, different than what has gone before. Thus a national revolution must create an alternative history justifying the overthrow of the previous powers. The interplay of the invention of national histories and social memories are both arenas in which Cuban narratives about oneself and one’s place in the world are constructed and constituted. These are not straightforward processes. This talk considers some of the revolutionary narratives that Cuban leaders have constructed and examines them in relation to the everyday narratives Cuban themselves construct in public spaces in Havana. To do this, ethnographic data of everyday arguments about sport, goods, music and general gossip gathered during fieldwork over the past fifteen years are compared with official narratives made by state mouthpieces in what I have called a language of contention that amounts to a continuous struggle over nothing less than how social reality itself should be defined and understood.