By one of our former MA-students
Post 1959, Cuban people have been muted about the harshness of their daily life conditions and incited to praise the revolution achievements of Fidel Castro’s regime. In anthropological terms, we would say that their agency was constrained: freedom of thought, of speech and association were restricted to the extent that people traded their own critical sense and capacity for revolt for a collective revolutionary mentality that was aimed at providing them with a better future.
Nevertheless, in the face of the 1990 economic crisis, the Cuban people’s awareness has begun to crack: as a way to compensate for the new state inefficiency, an increasing number of people have started to rely on themselves rather than on the state structure. It is in this context of agency versus structure that my research about the Cuban version of Iyengar yoga took place.