5430 - The Intimacy Turn: Theorizing the Dynamics of Transnational Couplehood and Marriage in regard to Cuba

Romantic relationships and matrimonies in the Cuban context have become more diversified in accordance with an international increase in the variety of forms of partnership, family and parenthood. My paper will explore the ways in which actors engaging in transnational couplehood and marriage challenge old boundaries and create new ones in regard to the private/public sphere, to gender, ‚race’ and nation – in a situation of tension to state policies. Focusing on marriage in the context of Cuba and the USA as well as of Cuba and Germany it strives to provide insights into the mix of emotional and economical enticements, which the actors take as a point of departure for their decision to join a foreign partner and eventually to migrate. I will relate results of my empirical investigation to several hypotheses which can be seen as part of an „intimacy turn“ (Giddens, Jamieson, Illouz, Zelizer among others). Anthony Giddens (1996), for example, argued against sociological explanations which assume a decline of the private sphere as a result of the advance of abstract, modern institutions (such as commodified markets, the state’s monopoly of power, etc.). In contrast, he demonstrated how the impersonal character of abstract systems is tightly interwoven with personal life and close social bonds. My case studies focus on how divergent gendered role model images, family values and sexuality function as a catalyst of migration and are transformed on the way. They show that even if these intimate social relationships are accompanied by discourses of equality, they may simultaneously produce new inequalities in regard to gender and race (Jamieson 1999).

Palabras claves: Transnational Marriage, Cuba, Intimacy

Autores: Kummels, Ingrid (Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany / Deutschland)


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