Cuba in the Shadow of Change: Daily Life in the Twilight of the Revolution

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"This book is a masterpiece. Accurate, lyrical, and empathetic in its illumination of the lives of ordinary Cubans, as they survive and thrive in the bizarre economic and political environment of Cuba during its 'Special Period.'"--Archibald Ritter, Carleton University

Amelia Weinreb takes readers deep inside the everyday life of middle-class Cubans--arguably the majority of citizens on the island. Un-theorized and under-described, it is a group that is portrayed honestly, accurately, and empathetically.

The political and economic systems of Cuba in the post-Soviet period pose ongoing challenges to ordinary Cubans as they struggle in the waning years of the Castro regime. Weinreb demonstrates that the major reason they have been ignored in the scholarly literature is because remaining obscure is one of their strategies for coping with these challenges.

Weinreb has made repeated visits to the island, frequently living in local communities along with her family. Thus her ethnography of this "shadow public" is based upon traditional participant-observer methodology. Her experiences--from the clothesline, the back bedroom, the kitchen table, and the living room sofa--allow her an unprecedented opportunity to bring to outside readers the reality of daily life in Cuba, and she includes an epilogue that addresses citizen and consumer changes that have taken place since Raúl Castro became president in February 2008.

No other book reveals so much about the anxieties and clandestine plans that have shaped Cubans' lives during the final years of the Fidel Castro era.

Amelia Rosenberg Weinreb is a lecturer in the department of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813036984
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 4/15/2013
  • Series: Contemporary Cuba
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Amelia Rosenberg Weinreb is a lecturer in the department of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Great Read!

    Cuba in the Shadow of Change provides an in depth understanding of life amongst the Shadow Public, a new class of people that has developed during Cuba's period of late socialism. Although scholarly in content, Weinreb's account balances academic analysis with interesting and meaningful anecdotes, quotes and personal experience. It is well-written, engaging, and illuminating. Not just a helpful read for someone studying Cuba, but an important read for everyone to understand what really is going on just 90 miles away!

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  • Posted November 3, 2009

    Fascinating Ethnography

    Cuba in the Shadow of Change exposes a new sub-culture of Cubans. In her ethnography, Weinreb demonstrates her knowledge and understanding of a lesser-known Cuban "shadow public." The struggles and frustrations of the group Weinreb has named "unsatisfied citizen-consumers" are illustrated through the stories of her key informants. The reader becomes intimately aware of the challenges these individuals face in their everyday lives. Whether it's receiving a spoiled monthly allotment of eggs from the bodega or competing for dollar goods on the black market, readers come to know an astoundingly resilient and creative population. As an anthropologist, Weinreb not only crafts and supports her theoretical ideas, but does so with eloquence and a true understanding of her subject.

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