Living Like Nikanor The ‘Paradox of Transition’ in Contemporary Cuba


  • ConcettaRusso PhD Anthropologist University of Milan “Bicocca”


Cuba is clearly not easily definable as a “post-socialist” society (Phillips, 2007; Enriquez, 2010). In the case of Cuban society, therefore, the term “transition” can be referred to the change that invested the relationships between citizens and the State since Raul Castro has started to reform the socialist Cuban system. This change has impacts also on how the concept of “work” is reconceptualised. Last Socialist Party Congress underlined that the Cuban socialism has not failed; nevertheless many economical changes are reshaping Cuban economy and, even more important, the basis of the citizen-State relationship. For the first time since the beginning of the Revolution, the No. 141 law decree introduced the possibility to work independently from the State. Though, only some job sectors (mostly in the tourism industry) have been involved in this privatization process, and the “professionals” (physicians, architects, layers, professors, engineers) aren’t allowed to work on their own. This partial privatization of the job market produced a paradox: many professionals have left their jobs in order to find a more remunerative occupation, and they have started to work as waiters, or as taxi drivers, in order to try to get a better salary and improve their quality of life. This paper will explore this paradox analyzing the fieldwork I carried on in Habana, Cuba, during the past five years.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n9p727


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How to Cite

Russo, C. (2013). Living Like Nikanor The ‘Paradox of Transition’ in Contemporary Cuba. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 4(9), 727. Retrieved from