Despite its hard-nosed emphasis on the demystifying realism of Marxist-Leninist ideology, the political imagery of the Cuban revolution--and the state that followed--conjures up its own magical seductions and fantasies of power. In this fascinating account, Kenneth Routon shows how magic practices and political culture are entangled in Cuba in unusual and intimate ways.
Routon describes not only how the monumentality of the state arouses magical sensibilities and popular images of its hidden powers, but he also explores the ways in which revolutionary officialdom has, in recent years, tacitly embraced and harnessed vernacular fantasies of power to the national agenda. In his brilliant analysis, popular culture and the state are deeply entangled within a promiscuous field of power, taking turns siphoning the magic of the other in order to embellish their own fantasies of authority, control, and transformation.
This study brings anthropology and history together by examining the relationship between ritual and state power in revolutionary Cuba, paying particular attention to the roles of memory and history in the construction and contestation of shared political imaginaries....Continua