Retroactively rewriting the revolution : the discursive mobilization of sustainability in La Habana, Cuba
Law, Sara Elizabeth
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The intent of my thesis is to demonstrate how the discourse of sustainability, specifically sustainable urban agriculture, has traversed borders. It is no longer the innovation of the United Nations. It has been adopted, manipulated, and exported to fit a variety of objectives. However, despite its vast travels, the discourse and praxis of sustainability privileges food production over food consumption especially in the Global South. In the process of consuming this idea, this mantra, this labor, many overlook, intentionally or not, the racialized, gendered and classed politics of consumption. I utilize Cuba as a case study to exemplify how sustainability has been adopted by other nations and provide grounded examples of the effects of this state-sponsored meta-narrative. My central argument is that the Cuban State's discourse and practice supports their politicized ideals of agricultural production by marginalizing food consumption. They accomplish this goal by creating a narrative of production at both the national and local level. The Cuban government supports sustainable production through speeches, local newspapers and sponsorship of particular agricultural organizations. On a local level, pamphlets, workshops and everyday conversations mirror the State's discourse and tout agricultural production as a panacea to Cuba's current state of low food security. I want to bring to light the complexities of Cuba's urban agricultural model. I do not intent to dispute the importance of their accomplishments in urban agriculture, however I also do not want to praise their impressive strides blindly. Despite their political leanings, like any nation, their relationship with food is raced, classed and gendered.