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Revolución o muerte: Self-sacrifice and the Ontology of Cuban Revolution

Holbraad, M; (2013) Revolución o muerte: Self-sacrifice and the Ontology of Cuban Revolution. Ethnos , 79 (3) pp. 365-387. 10.1080/00141844.2013.794149. Green open access

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Abstract

With reference to the experience of the Cuban Revolution, this article addresses what may be called the 'late revolutionary paradox': How can so many people in countries such as Cuba continue to pledge visceral allegiance to their revolution while at the same time expressing deep disaffection with it? My main claim is that the paradox is a product of an undue analytical emphasis on the ideological content of revolutionary discourse, with its mantra-like evocations of 'process', 'change', 'emancipation' and other discursive projections into the future. Seen from the point of view of its form as a socio-political event, I argue, revolution turns on a deeper premise, namely the commitment to self-sacrifice, i.e. the assumption that revolutionary subjects are defined by their potential death in defence of the revolution. The premise of self-sacrifice, I argue, lends revolutionary politics a peculiar ontological foundation that makes it radically different to, broadly, 'liberal' understandings of politics. This difference, I show, dissolves the putative 'paradox' of later revolutionary societies such as Cuba, allowing revolutionary subjects to sustain a sense of revolutionary conviction in the face of the many historical contingencies that would seem otherwise to make such enduring convictions increasingly difficult to sustain. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Type: Article
Title: Revolución o muerte: Self-sacrifice and the Ontology of Cuban Revolution
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2013.794149
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2013.794149
Language: English
Additional information: # 2013 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1404824
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