Cuba in the world, the world in Cuba : essays on Cuban history, politics and culture

Cuba Essay
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Individual programs can be arranged by working with professors or by participating in extracurricular study groups. This practice is followed by most students planning careers in psychology. For example, the social psychology program designed last year consists of ten half-year semesters. During the program, students have courses in anatomy and the physiology of the nervous system; biology; the psychology of sensation, perception, and attention; the psychology of memory, thought, and language; the psychology of motivation and affective processes; the history of psychology; infant and adolescent psychology; the psychology of personality; social psychology; psychopathology; the psychology of work; the psychology of education; methodology; statistics; and computation.

In addition, courses in language and physical education are required each semester, as are one semester each of Marxism-Leninism, the history of philosophy, political economy, and critiques of bourgeois thought. The explicit incorporation of discussions of Marxism-Leninism, critiques of bourgeois thought, and the study of political economy are characteristic of all fields of higher education in Cuba. This instruction builds an awareness among social scientists of the distinctive nature of their society and the theoretical limitations and methodological difficulties of making comparisons between socialist and capitalist countries.

This was reflected when I discussed research projects with social scientists. Comments were made in an open analytical fashion, yet discussions of research involving US-Cuba comparisons were carried out by noting, in a noncritical fashion, differences in the Cuban and United States political systems which require different designs for similar studies in the two societies. These considerations include the fact that most Cuban children attend boarding schools during their grammar school years and that most parents of students are themselves in an educational program, making studies a more normal part of home life.

At the University of Havana, a group of faculty scholars, with a few students, has formed an Institute for the Study of the United States. As its first project, it is beginning to investigate the nature of race relations in the United States.

Cuba Before 1959: An Advanced Country

In it, she reviews the history of British colonization and the American War of Independence within the context of the development of international capitalism. The Institute for the Study of the United States at the University of Havana is still at an early stage and its members lack experience both with the subject matter and with carrying out social science research. However, in the future it may add new perspectives to knowledge of the United States, and it may serve as an impetus for the establishment of similar institutes elsewhere.

Impressive research is being carried out by researchers outside universities. The Cuban Institute for Consumer Research and Planning Instituto de la Demanda Interna IDI , founded in April , is charged with obtaining knowledge about the consumption needs of the population in order to plan the production and distribution of goods and services. The Institute carries out this charge through the collection of data about both current consumption and future needs; it communicates this information both to state production and distribution agencies and to committees of the Communist Party responsible for consumer planning.

The Institute is divided into a number of departments, including food, clothing, household goods, leisure time, consumption indicators, and demand structure. These departments are supported by those of applied mathematics, demography, economics, sociology, and psychology, and as well as by a scientific and technical information center.

A staff of one hundred researchers and assistants carries out basic studies on the consumption of food, clothing, housing, and recreation; it also designs controlled field experiments to project future levels of consumption and to evaluate ideal future consumption patterns. Pedro Miret Prieto, a member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, indicated in a speech that the Institute is viewed by the Party as an essential part of the solution of consumer problems.

These problems have been a focus of state concern for the past four years, and range from clearing distribution bottlenecks to generating demand for those foodstuffs which are in plentiful supply.

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Among the techniques used to evaluate consumer demand is a nationwide sample of seven thousand families, stratified by residence and level of income, which is interviewed every three months. Items for these interviews and for other research projects carried out by the Institute are suggested by a nationwide network of more than one thousand observation posts in schools, distribution locales, and stores which report problems, such as the lack of acceptance of a given item, or difficulties with a rationing scheme, to the Institute so that they may be studied in greater depth.

The results of these studies are used by a variety of national organizations. Recently, the Institute has been instrumental in gathering information on how to promote the consumption of fish throughout the country and on the design of a uniform for secondary school children. Through field experiments, the Institute determines how new demand structures might be created through the use of such social control techniques as propaganda, education, price adjustment, and rationing.

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Most members of the Institute staff have been trained in Cuban universities, although some have attended European universities. Some staff members received on-the-job training in advertising and market research firms in prerevolutionary Havana. The Institute has begun to sponsor conferences at which scientific papers are presented and information is exchanged. This book is not only technical in nature, but it also discusses demand within the context of contemporary Cuban society. Another state agency carrying out noteworthy social scientific research is the Institute of Infancy, directed by the Federation of Cuban Women; it is in charge of day care education throughout the country.

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The training of day care teachers is heavily influenced by social and developmental psychology. This laboratory has facilities for measuring various aspects of child growth, ranging from height and weight to bone development. Jordan explained his national study of child growth, which used a stratified three-stage random nationwide sample of 50, children, including ages newborn through nineteen.

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Title Item Name. The Institute is divided into a number of departments, including food, clothing, household goods, leisure time, consumption indicators, and demand structure. It sits regularly twice a year. Five hundred species of fish Continue Reading. In addition, the collapse of the Soviet Union caused the loss of several billions of dollars in yearly subsidies and overnight required hard currency for all imports.

This study gathered fifteen different measurements of physical growth and development, as well as social and educational information on children and parents. Jordan et al. It is anticipated that the same panel of children will be re-examined during the second phase of the study, thereby yielding data for longitudinal analysis. An article by H.

A discussion of recent research on international business provided an opportunity to witness the diffusion of information among Cuban social scientists.

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Cuba in the World, the World in Cuba essays on cuban History, politics and culture edited by alessandra lorini duccio Basosi with a preface by ronald pruessen. The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers) most successful revolutions or as the bastion of the world's last communist regime. more than one hundred selections about Cuba's history, culture, and politics. . paintings, photographs, short stories, essays, speeches, government reports.

For this seminar, it brought together its own economists, political scientists, and sociologists with others from the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, and the University of Havana. Most of the exchange focused on problems of decision making and control in corporations and other complex organizations.

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Much interest was expressed in a wider exposure to literature published in the United States. Another institution which uses knowledge for both the advancement and the diffusion of the Cuban revolution is the Casa de las Americas. The Casa is a state institution, established to promote the arts and to relate the work of artists and writers throughout the hemisphere to the Cuban revolution.

The Casa has a beautifully executed publishing program, which includes a journal, records, posters, and books of poetry, prose, criticism, and some social science monographs. Each work is published in its original language, so its publications are in English, French, and Portuguese, as well as in Spanish. These are diffused throughout the hemisphere and in Europe, and serve the dual purpose of advancing the arts and identifying the Cuban revolution with artistic humanistic expression.

The journal combines clear political objectives with the dissemination of documents, essays, poems, and criticisms. At each of these state agencies and at the universities, the normal style of social scientific work stands in marked contrast to professional norms in the United States. Cuban social scientists stated that their work has a collective basis, with social scientists working in teams rather than as individuals.

This means that research is based on extensive discussion and mutual criticism. Because of this extensive discussion, advances in knowledge may appear more slowly in the Cuban system than in the United States. Since these discussions appear to be broad-based and systematically carried out both within research groups and among institutions, findings appear to be more widely diffused than they are in comparable United States settings.

In the North American social sciences, there is a gap between people at the frontier of a discipline and others in the discipline. In Cuba, there is much less of a gap, both because scientists who make discoveries are obliged to diffuse them in a relatively broad manner and because of the smaller size of the social science community. In addition, the focus on national priorities means that research is much more concerned with resolving contemporary problems.

Although purely scientific concerns are of interest, they are of lower priority. The pervasive linking of scientific work to centrally planned action on national problems may be another force for coherence within the Cuban social scientific community. Another important characteristic of the Cuban social sciences is that significant changes in social scientific institutions and their organization are continually taking place. As reported above, in the last few years the Institute for the Study of the United States has achieved increasing importance in the University of Havana, the Department of Psychology has revamped its teaching program, and the Institute of Infancy has just begun to publish its research.

These changes are not surprising in Cuba, as institutions and their personnel learn through experience and establish their credentials. The social sciences in Cuba must be viewed as a set of institutions responding to changes in historical circumstances, especially the availability of resources. Evaluations of present strengths and weaknesses must be couched in the understanding that, however one might characterize the Cuban social sciences today, new institutions and a changing and expanding research program will have to be included in future descriptions.

Since Cuba is a planned economy and the state and the Communist Party have complete authority, social research is used to generate information of use for planning. Hence, both for the gathering of baseline information on an entire nation and for carrying out large field experiments, Cuba can be said to serve as a social scientific laboratory.

These and other research facilities carry out investigations on a national basis and evaluate the relative efficiency of different policies given their objectives. Such social experimentation is much more difficult in Western democracies. Despite the political and social questions one might raise as to the conditions that make such research possible, the results of this research are interesting not only for social scientists in Cuba and other socialist countries but for social scientists in nonsocialist countries as well.

Another much discussed implication of the state control of the social sciences in Cuba is the fact that most experienced social scientists emigrated after the revolution of The result is that the vast majority of social scientists staffing Cuban universities, research institutes, and government ministries are very young and, although very committed both to their society and to working as social scientists, they lack both research and international experience. This results in their lack of realistic information regarding the nature of nonsocialist societies.

In some areas where prominent historians, social researchers, and medical researchers have stayed in Cuba, research is already quite advanced. However, broad-based, theory-oriented social research is still in the process of development and most empirical research is used for planning purposes and is not routinely diffused among Cuban academics.

Some writers have suggested that the low quality of available Cuban social scientific writing may be the result of the repression of intellectual freedom.

The Economic Reforms That Are Transforming the Island

While the Cuban revolution does, in fact, focus the work of social scientists on current priorities, other very important explanations of the nature of Cuban social science must be based on an analysis of the youth and inexperience which characterizes most Cuban social scientists and on the fact that most social research is commissioned by state agencies and its findings are not diffused internationally. Additional questions must be raised concerning institutional protections for intellectual and scientific autonomy.

The complexities of social life make it essential to build institutional supports for intellectual freedom and critical judgment in both socialist and capitalist societies. Cuban scholars and politicians report that they are striving to avoid the mistakes of other socialist regimes. At this time, not enough is known about the social sciences in Cuba to make a responsible judgment on their success. Cuban social scientists currently have very little contact with recent research in the United States.

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This is due in part to their great interest in socialist social science; however, it is largely due to the difficulty of contact with North American social scientists and with social science literature as a result of the embargo. Cuban social scientists feel that this has had deleterious scientific effects, as it is exceedingly difficult for Cuban social scientists to make use of recent United States findings when doing their work.