The dense web: local governance and popular participation in Revolutionary Cuba

Collins, Lauren B.S. (2018) The dense web: local governance and popular participation in Revolutionary Cuba. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Drawing on a range of primary and secondary sources, including Cuban scholarship which has been overlooked by other non-Cuban scholars, this thesis traces the evolution of local government and popular participation from the overthrow of the Batista regime in 1959 to the present day, and in so doing, it exposes multiple sites for participation in the business of local governance which are available to the average Cuban citizen.

By examining the municipal election process, mechanisms for close contact between citizens and their elected delegates, and the relationship between the mass organisations and the Communist Party, this study illuminates the interface between state and populace, and demonstrates that popular participation at the level of the community is linked to domestic national policy-making. Furthermore, evidence is presented which demonstrates that the evolution of local Cuban polity is affected though continuous review of local government practice and is itself a participatory process.

Decades of popular participation in local affairs have developed and strengthened the capacity for collective action, and this thesis assesses its contribution to the remarkable survival of Cuba’s socialist project after the collapse of the Soviet bloc.

As the revolutionary leadership expanded opportunities for popular participation whilst continuing to maintain control over decisions it considered were necessary for economic development, for the maintenance of national unity, and for the development of Che Guevara’s New Man (and Woman), tensions were generated between localism and centralism, and between pragmatism and ideology. Responses to these tensions can be seen in the contemporary Cuban scholarship presented in the final chapter of the thesis.

This thesis makes a sustained case for the importance of local government to the revolutionary leadership and argues that no assessment of the Cuban polity can claim to be comprehensive without taking local government into account.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Kapcia, Antoni
Stockey, Gareth
Keywords: Cuba; Local Governance; Popular Participation
Subjects: F United States local history. History of Canada and Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
J Political science > JS Local government. Municipal government
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 51679
Depositing User: Collins, Lauren
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2018 09:14
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 17:00

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