S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Dept. of Anthropology (인류학과) Theses (Master's Degree_인류학과)
After Sugar Town: Landscape, Memory and Nostalgia in Reshaping Locality in Cuba
쿠바 제당촌의 형성과 재편
- 사회과학대학 인류학과
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 대학원
- locality; local identity; nostalgia; mnemonic landscape; naming practices; production of local image; collective memories; economic transition; sugar town; post-Soviet Cuba; azucarero; batey; central
- 학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 인류학과, 2012. 8. 전경수.
Department of Anthropology
Graduate School of Seoul National University
'Locality' is not merely a static geographical boundary, but more importantly a mutable composite of material structures and social features of a local community along with the shared feelings about the community held by its members. The locality of a community is influenced and shaped by numerous external factors (world political economy, national policy, globalization and etc.). By exploring both the external factors of locality and the inner views and interpretations of the people in a Cuban town, this study attempts to examine how a locality is socially and historically formed and transformed. In so doing, I closely attend to the perspective of the community members.
The research was carried out in a former sugar mill town in Cuba, named Camilo Cienfuego (Hershey). Like many other sugar mill towns across Cuba, the town has been spatialized by major Cuban modern historical events since its foundation in 1916: the American intervention into the Cuban economy in the early 20th century
the Cuban Revolution in 1959
the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991
and finally, the resultant economy of shortage in the post-Soviet era. In the face of the national sugar agro-industry restructuring program in 2002, the nature of the town's locality was brought into question among its people.
The cultural process of making claims on local identity is observed and described as follows. Firstly, the landscape from the pre-revolutionary era gives people material evidence to support their related memories regarding the landscape. By narrating their memories of the past in comparison to the present conditions of the town, they show a deep sense of attachment to the yester-years of the town. Secondly, selective naming of places is also notable among the townspeople. The townspeople use the old, Hershey era names of places rather than the new ones following the revolution, which requires prerequisite knowledge in the local history. Lastly, they see themselves as "family-oriented," "cultured," and "gossipy," which they themselves attribute to the original characteristics of the town in the pre-revolutionary era. These cultural practices are strongly associated with the pre-revolutionary period and become the main source from which to valorize their collectivity as a former sugar town.
This active involvement in the past is related to: 1) a crisis in the communal economic structure in the current situation of the town and 2) the fact that the town's pre-revolutionary era characteristics represent the social desire of the people in the present time. The fact that the pre-revolutionary era represented "material abundance" and the "connection to the world" reflects the desire of the townspeople in their daily struggles to survive under the constant material shortage and sense of isolation ―regionally and internationally― from the outside world.
[Key words: locality, local identity, nostalgia, mnemonic landscape, naming practices, production of local image, collective memories, economic transition, sugar town, post-Soviet Cuba, azucarero, batey, central]
Student Number: 2009-22828