Accepted Paper:

Revolutionary blasts: the politics of passion within the celebration of home runs in Cuban baseball  


Thomas Carter (University of Brighton)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the emotive politics embedded in spectators’ celebrations of a home run, the one undeniable, unstoppable event in Cuba’s national sport. Based on a decade’s worth of multisited fieldwork, I consider how these tropes of passion inform understandings of baseball and being Cuban.

Paper long abstract:

Baseball, like many sports, is intricately and intimately tied to nationalist representations that reinforce a supposedly homogenous nation. Cuban baseball certainly appears to do just that, but manner in which baseball is organized accentuates rival notions of what it means to be Cuban in what I have called elsewhere the language of contention. Using ethnographic material compiled over the past decade, this paper explores the emergent dramatic 'nocout' moments in Cuban baseball. This paper considers these emblematic and ephemeral instances moments in which a Cuban Self is attenuated and affirmed as an undeniable assertion of one version of being Cuban. These celebrations are spontaneous emotional declarations of being. The entity in question, however, being affirmed is not a question of whether a Cuban self exists but which one. Cuban baseball provides an embodied narrative spectacle of what I call the politics of passion. These experiential politics inform how Cubans imagine themselves and their worlds and yet are structured by the discourse surrounding what it means to be Cuban as embodied on the baseball diamonds across the country.

Panel W007
Staging sport and celebration: the power of play