5419 - Between disinterested love and familial duty: Negotiations of economic rights and obligations in the Cuban family

This paper will look at intimacy and economy by following the case of a young couple, Noelis and Abel, and Abel's mother, Barbara - all living in Havana, Cuba. As will become apparent, these three persons engage in rather intense negotiations regarding their respective right and obligations towards each other based on notions of gender, kinship, love and economy. In these negotiations Barbara allows herself to express her economic interests rather explicitly as rights over her son, his time, efforts and economic resources. While I would say that the dichotomy of interest versus affect, economy versus morality is prevalent in Cuba and shape ideals of amor desinteresado we seen to have stumbled upon an area of everyday life where the "taboo of making things explicit", as Bourdieu would put it, can be broken. I argue that this is so since family ideology is strong and especially mother-love is seen as unconditional and intrinsic to the biological bond between a mother and her offspring. Shielded by the idealized nature of mother-love interest can be safely expressed as rights. These rights are deeply infused with normative morality mobilizing economic resources through notions of filial duty.

Keywords: Family, Economy, Cuba

Author: Padron Hernandez, Maria (University of Gothenburg, Sweden / Schweden)


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