Miranda Miriam Garcia

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Michigan, Ann Arbor, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9995

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Garcia, Miranda (Michigan, Ann Arbor, U. of) "Independent Advertising in Cuba: A Lens on Economic and Social Change"

In 2010, Cuba legalized private enterprise, signaling the nation’s gradual departure from a centrally-planned economy. A marketing industry has emerged to promote new businesses, and for the first time since 1959, Cubans are creating and engaging with independent commercial advertising. As one of the few forms of non-State mass media on the island, advertisements are a key medium for presenting and debating new subjectivities, socioeconomic relations, and visions of change. My doctoral research seeks to understand this emergent marketing landscape through an anthropological study of its producers, the advertisements they create, and their distribution and reception through “el paquete” – an offline, USB-based network for foreign media, and a key vehicle for small business advertisements in Cuba. My project aims to answer key questions: how is this burgeoning advertising practice related to new economic roles and relationships on the island? What do the narratives, motifs, and themes advertisers employ reveal about perceived shared desires and imaginations? How do such discourses circulate through the paquete, and what new identities and publics does this commercial cultural realm produce? What are the implications for a new public sphere as Cuba slowly moves away from a planned economy and potentially, the State-controlled media landscape?