"My Country" / "This Country": Ambivalent Belongings of Cuban Americans in South Florida

  • Robin Cooper Nova Southeastern University
  • Denese Edsall Nova Southeastern University
  • Diana Riviera Nova Southeastern University
  • Julia Chaitin Sapir Academic College
  • J. P. Linstroth Nova Southeastern University
Keywords: immigration, immigrants, home, belonging, ethnic identity, national identity, Cuban-American, second generation

Abstract

This article explores significant notions of home and belonging among first- and second-generation Cuban immigrants in South Florida. The analyses are derived from biographical narrative interviews with six Cuban Americans. Three key subjects were in the biographical life stories—the notion of escape or leaving, the sense of home, and constructions of Cuban identity. In assessing these themes, we found there to be profound differences between the generations. Moreover, these Cuban biographies demonstrate how differing stories of migration provide new theoretical perspectives on immigration, transnationalism, and ethnicity. The experiences presented and discussed here connect to the ambivalence and complexity of belongingness and interpretations of Cuban-ness. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0903134

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Author Biographies

Robin Cooper, Nova Southeastern University
Robin COOPER is a Doctoral Candidate at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences at Nova Southeastern University. In her dissertation, she explores constructions of ethnic and national identity for members of the national ethnic majority experiencing the transition to a "majority-minority" community. She is a co-investigator in an ongoing international study on ethnicity and sense of belonging among refugee and immigrant populations in the United States. Her research and teaching interests include conflict resolution, ethnicity, human rights, nationalism, migration, gender, social control, culture and conflict, and qualitative research.
Denese Edsall, Nova Southeastern University
Denese EDSALL is a Candidate at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences at Nova Southeastern University. In her dissertation she explores the self-identity narratives of targets of workplace bullying and their coping strategies. Her research and teaching interests include conflict resolution, workplace bullying, organizational conflict, ethnicity, gender, culture and conflict, and qualitative research.
Diana Riviera, Nova Southeastern University
Diana RIVIERA is a Doctoral Candidate at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University. She currently conducts Institutional Research using quantitative methods; however, looks forward to using a mixed methods approach for her dissertation study. Her dissertation interest is capturing the biographical narratives of populations living in Colonia Communities (border towns) along the U.S./Mexico border. She is a co-investigator in an ongoing international study on ethnicity and sense of belonging among refugee and immigrant populations in the United States. Her research interests include conflict resolution, ethnicity, culture and conflict, identity and sense of belonging, migration, social control, quantitative, and qualitative research.
Julia Chaitin, Sapir Academic College
Julia CHAITIN, Ph.D. is a social psychologist, with an expertise in conflict resolution and peace-building. Her research focuses on psychosocial impacts of the Holocaust and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Social Work Department at the Sapir College, and a member of The Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development and "Other Voice"—peace and social justice organizations.
J. P. Linstroth, Nova Southeastern University
J.P. LINSTROTH obtained his D.Phil. in social anthropology from the University of Oxford. Most of his research is concerned with understanding ethnic-minority groups, whether Spanish-Basques, Cuban, Haitian, or Guatemalan-Maya immigrants in the US, or urban Amerindians in Brazil. He was co-awarded an Alexander Von Humboldt Grant (2005-2007) to study immigrant identity in South Florida and has recently been awarded a Fulbright Foreign Scholar Grant (2008-2009) as a visiting professor at the Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM) and for fieldwork amongst urban Amerindians in Manaus, Brazil. He has published several scholarly articles and has two forthcoming books, titled respectively: Marching Against Gender Practice: political imaginings in the Basqueland; and, Violence and Peace Re-Imagined: a new interdisciplinary theory for cognitive anthropology. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology at Nova Southeastern University.
Published
2009-09-29
How to Cite
Cooper, R., Edsall, D., Riviera, D., Chaitin, J., & Linstroth, J. P. (2009). "My Country" / "This Country": Ambivalent Belongings of Cuban Americans in South Florida. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-10.3.1364