Ties that Bind: Cuban Transna­tional Communities

May 23, 2001 - 4:00 PM

Susan Eck­stein
Pro­fes­sor of Soci­ol­ogy, Boston University

Susan Eck­stein is for­mer Pres­i­dent of the Latin Amer­i­can Stud­ies Asso­ci­a­tion. She has pub­lished exten­sively on Mex­ico, Cuba, and Latin Amer­ica. This talk is based on on-going research in Cuba and the United States. That research probes the Cuban case in terms of dif­fer­ent par­a­digms for ana­lyz­ing immi­grant expe­ri­ences, includ­ing the “assim­i­la­tion­ist” and “transna­tion­al­ist” par­a­digms. By con­sid­er­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of dif­fer­ent his­tor­i­cal gen­er­a­tional expe­ri­ences, the study devel­ops a his­tor­i­cally grounded gen­er­a­tional frame of analy­sis. It cap­tures dif­fer­ences in views, involve­ments, and cross-border ties between two cohorts of first gen­er­a­tion émi­grés: those who left between 1959 and 1979 and those who emi­grated later often for eco­nomic rea­sons. The latter’s transna­tional ties, para­dox­i­cally, appear to be unwit­tingly doing more to trans­form Cuba than first wave iso­la­tion­ism. The cohort com­par­i­son is based on inter­views with émi­grés in Union City (New Jer­sey) and Miami. The analy­sis of effects of transna­tional ties rests on inter­views in Cuba as well.