Los que se quedan: Non-migrant Experiences of Emigration, Absence and Diaspora in Contemporary Cuba

  • Patrick O'Shea

Student thesis: Phd


Fundamentally, this thesis explores emigration, exile and diaspora as central experiencesof contemporary Cuban society and culture but, crucially, understands the processes ofexperience as lived mutually and simultaneously by both those who emigrate and thosewho do not. Through interviews conducted in Cuba, the biographical narratives of thosewho have not emigrated serve to interrogate some assumptions that characterise thestudy of Cuba and attempt to account for the complexity of the Cuban cultural encounterwith emigration, exile and diaspora since 1959. A generational approach is employed tobetter understand how the absence of family members, friends, colleagues andcompatriots has been experienced over several generations of Cubans living on theisland. Intertwined discourses of migration mediate various iterations of national, familyand interpersonal relationships through complex and often conflictive emotional andpsychological processes of separation and absence over time. The manner in which theabsences of those who have left are articulated in the imaginations of those who havestayed can cast a certain degree of illumination upon how exile and emigration havebeen lived in contemporary Cuba, not exclusively as political or economic experiences,but as nuanced social and cultural experiences of diaspora.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorParvathi Kumaraswami (Supervisor) & Encarnacion Gutierrez-Rodriguez (Supervisor)


  • exile
  • separation
  • absence
  • Cuba
  • diaspora
  • emigration
  • non-migrant

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