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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Toward an Expanded Cubanidad: Foucault’s Aesthetics of the Self and the Embodiment of Revolutionary Subjectivities

Published Web Location Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license

Drawing from interviews with Cuban nationals during and shortly after the 50th anniversary of the Castro-led revolution, this essay explores Cubanidad or the dynamic and constantly evolving conception that Cubans have of themselves as revolutionary subjects. It does so by first outlining a Foucauldian framework that highlights the embodied, rather than ideological, constitution of subjectivity and offering a generative method for discourse analysis that moves against the dominant currents of binary containment. Second, it tracks the production of that embodied subjectivity backward through the revolutionary rhetoric of such foundational figures as José Martí and Ernesto (Che) Guevara as well as forward into divergent self-conceptions among contemporary Cubans. The essay ends by reflecting on the possibilities and limitations that this identity poses for the normalization of Cuba within the global political and economic community.

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