Migrant, Tourist, Cuban: Identification and Belonging in Returns to Cuba
Based on ethnography of Cuban mobilities between Spain and Cuba, the talk considers various experiences of return - from short-term visits to longer-term ‘homecomings’ – as entry points for discussing processes of, and approaches to, identification and belonging. The analysis of returns to Cuba helps bring into view expectations related to what it means to act as a ‘good’ Cuban and to come back from abroad, with dominant characterizations of the ‘migrant’ and of the ‘tourist’ serving as powerful benchmarks. This, in turn, encourages reflection on the power and value associated with normative understandings of ‘tourism’ and ‘migration’, and the uneven ways these open or foreclose certain modes of being and relating. In situations of return, relations with family, friends, and the country at large are fraught with pressures, demands, and uncertainties that motivate the explicit re-assessments of people’s identification, belonging, and place in the world. Looking at these dimensions of returns and the predicaments they engender provides new insights into the question of ascertaining when mobility-related categorizations matter, in which way, why, and for whom.
Tuesday 7 June 2022