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Socialist Ensembles

Socialist Ensembles: Theater and State in Cuba and Nicaragua

Randy Martin
Volume: 8
Copyright Date: 1994
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 255
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  • Book Info
    Socialist Ensembles
    Book Description:

    An ethnography of theater and political culture in Cuba and Nicaragua, Martin’s work reveals the tensions and negotiations among different dimensions of society that characterize the socialist project. Martin considers Nicaragua from the Sandinista through the Chamorro administrations, and Cuba from the time of the reforms known as rectification through the withdrawal of Soviet aid.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8606-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Chapter 1 Theater and the Ethnography of Socialism
    (pp. 1-24)

    Studying socialism these days just might take some looking. Perhaps it was always so. Marx saw socialism at the horizon of capitalism. Although it may seem fixed and out of reach, the horizon is constantly shifting as a consequence of different bodies in motion. New silhouettes constantly appear that require special devices to bring them into definition and focus. From the perspective of capital, socialism may always appear far away, and it would seem one would have to travel a bit to get there. No recently emergent situation was as compelling as the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua for refocusing global...

  5. Chapter 2 Where’s the Theater?
    (pp. 25-44)

    Broadway, the capital of theater, has no heart. It is all edges. No sooner do you step into the district than you have passed it by. If you enter the theater, you are sure to have your pocket picked. This of course is possible if you don’t enter the theater, but in the former case you may not notice for several weeks, until the bills arrive. So much fantasy out of such faded memory. Extended repetition as a model of success. Only after the lighting cues have burnt marks on the stage does the money begin to flow. The hit...

  6. Chapter 3 Nicaraguan Theater Goes to Market
    (pp. 45-77)

    At the beginning of 1991, the streets of Managua were filled with millionaires—and not just thecoyoteswaving flaccid bundles of cordoba notes, shouting “dólores” at passersby and hoping for exchange. With the Nicaraguan currency floating on a desert of dollars, the official exchange rate went up in increments of a couple hundred thousand every few days. The dollars were always hidden away, a clandestine force presumably driving the economy. The cordoba notes themselves seemed to strain under the dizzying five-digit inflation. Bills of 1,000 cordobas printed in 1985 with verso and recto images of Sandino and a plaza...

  7. Chapter 4 Masquerades of Gender in a Nicaraguan Theater
    (pp. 78-111)

    The theatrical movement that developed in the aftermath of the revolution, based in the actual physical domain of the countryside, projected an imaginary countryside as well. It explored those spaces productive of revolutionary activity but scarcely made visible in the moment of revolutionary triumph. In doing so, it embodies the project of participation that transforms the theatrical public into an autorepresentation of the people. In a country as relatively compact as Nicaragua, with a population of some three million that is modest with respect to the community of nations, it is easy to underestimate the accomplishment of a rough parity...

  8. Chapter 5 Sources of Socialist Culture in Cuba
    (pp. 112-157)

    To examine the spectrum of Cuban theater that has emerged since the revolution is to appreciate how historical dynamics, protosocialist in character, are embedded in a developing socialist culture. This chapter will attempt, first, to indicate a certain historicity to socialist culture. In this regard a revolution neither wipes the slate clean nor initiates the cultural critique appropriate to socialism. Undeniably, the social conditions for the production of theater were revolutionized in Cuba, but beyond socializing production and reception, the aesthetic dimension of socialist culture draws on a history related but not reducible to the revolutionary process. This leads to...

  9. Chapter 6 Cuban Theater under Rectification
    (pp. 158-189)

    As a performance idiom, theater is of necessity always in formation. Yet within that ongoing movement, the emergence of certain currents is detectable. In Cuba, a generation that was born after Batista’s flight has come of age and is beginning to perform. The distinctiveness of this next generation lies in the continuities and changes of Cuban life more broadly. Cuba has experienced some remarkable shifts in its cultural climate, with the blessing and even the prodding of the country’s top leaders. In the West, it could be said that something of a fable for understanding changes in the socialist world...

  10. Conclusion: Theater and the Recognition of Socialism
    (pp. 190-238)

    Comparison has its perils. Behind, or perhaps more precisely, beyond every effort to relate two or more phenomena stands an ideal, a generalized category of which the phenomena in question are supposed to be merely instances. The tension between the expectations of the ideal and the actuality of observed practices is bound to cast the latter in the light of a presumed deficiency, as Erving Goffman observed in another context. In Goffman’s account, the unrecognized idealization of a social setting means that instances of activity enter into relationship with one another already lacking—in debt, so to speak, to the...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 239-256)
  12. Index
    (pp. 257-260)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 261-261)