Accepted paper:

Creating difference in Cuba's dual economy


Maria Padron Hernandez (University of Gothenburg)

Paper abstract:

Since the fall of the Soviet Union socialist Cuba has reluctantly and partially opened up for the globalizing forces of contemporary capitalism. In everyday life the most notable result of this is the presence of two currencies - the "old" Cuban pesos (MN) and the new convertible pesos (CUC) with an exchange rate of 1CUC = 24MN. As people handle the two currencies and make the dual economy understandable and meaningful, they interpret the difference in economic value in cultural terms by inserting this fundamental division in a classified universe of symbolic attributes. Through this symbolic language the things, places and people associated with CUC are made (24 times) more valuable and desirable than those associated with MN. In this creation of difference constant references are made to foreign places and people - migrants as well as tourists - locating Cuba and Cubans in a problematic position in the global world.

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panel W096
Markets, moneys, and mobilities: transnational organizing