Accepted Paper:

Spanish precarities, Cuban intimacies, and vice versa: rethinking sentiment and economy among Cuban migrants  

Author:

Valerio Simoni (The Graduate Institute, Geneva)

Paper short abstract:

Focusing on how Cuban migrants in the city of Barcelona assessed changes in living conditions in Cuba and Spain, the paper explores the entanglements between emerging horizons of possibility, the re-valuation of kin and intimate relations, and different notions of precarity and crisis.

Paper long abstract:

In the Cuban milieus I frequented in Barcelona (Spain), a common narrative saw migrants leave behind a crisis-ridden Cuba, with the hope of joining a more affluent Spain, only to plunge in yet another crisis. A context of increased precarity and frustrated hopes led migrants to reassess their experiences in Spain, their lives in Cuba, as well as the changes taking place in both countries. Current reforms in Cuba, for instance, could be read as a sign of new opportunities opening up. Linking a decline in living conditions with transformations in their relations with Spanish and Cuban nationals, my interlocutors pointed to the tendency, among migrants like them, to look back to Cuba and fellow Cubans with a growing sense of possibility and communal solidarity. The prospects of a renewed engagement with Cuba could lead to plans of setting up a small business or investing in family property on the island. The contrasts entailed between Spanish and Cuban forms of sociability, examples of successful returns home, and provocative remarks about what it meant to be poor 'here' and 'there', could all result in wider reflections on the meaning and value of having a 'good life', destabilizing previously taken for granted assumptions. Focusing on the experiences and imaginaries that migrants associated with the evolving contexts of Cuba and Spain, the paper explores the entanglements between changes in living conditions and possibilities, the re-valuation of kin and intimate relations, and the very notions of precarity and crisis.

Panel P064
Mobility, precarity, and the activation of kinship and intimacy [ANTHROMOB]