Author:Valerio Simoni (Geneva Graduate Institute)
Paper short abstract:
This paper follows the heterogeneous, controversial deployments of money in the realm of encounters between foreign tourists, the ethnographer, and Cubans/jineteros (‘tourist-riders’) in Cuba, showing how these deployments contribute to shape various kinds of socialities, agencies and moralities.
Paper long abstract:
This paper follows the heterogeneous deployments of money in the realm of encounters between foreign tourist, the ethnographer, and members of the local population in Cuba, showing how these deployments become entangled and contribute to shape various kinds of socialities, agencies and moralities.
In the course of encounters between tourists and Cubans/jineteros ('tourist-riders'), money intervenes in multiple and contrasting ways in the processes that lead people to qualify their relationships as, for instance, 'economic', 'friendly', 'sexual', or 'charitable'. In this respect, money and its' deployments can help the protagonists of encounters discriminate between different kinds of socialities, agencies and moralities. But far from being always clearly defined and taken for granted, money's roles in the shaping of these relations are often contested and controversial. The value of the currencies circulating in Cuba can itself become a subject of negotiations, leading to different qualifications of money. Tensions between discourses and practices are also likely to emerge, and the ways Cubans/jineteros and tourists manage and/or manipulate these tensions, contributes to silence or foster controversies on money's roles and uses. All these various negotiations provide fertile ground for the proliferation of discourses and ideas on money, which become entangled in lively debates on the moralities of such encounters, and their characterization as mutual, asymmetrical and/or exploitative.
Following money(s) entanglements and disentanglements with, and contribution to, the qualification of different socialities, agencies and moralities, this paper highlights how relations and money constitute each other in the course of touristic encounters in this Caribbean island.
Relations that money can buy: negotiating mutualities and asymmetries in local and translocal social fields