|Title:||If They Show Prison Break in the United States on a Wednesday, by Thursday It Is Here: Mobile Media Networks in Twenty-First-Century Cuba|
|Author(s):||Pertierra, A. C.|
|Citation:||Pertierra, A. C. (2012). If They Show Prison Break in the United States on a Wednesday, by Thursday It Is Here: Mobile Media Networks in Twenty-First-Century Cuba. Television & New Media, 13, 399-414.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Semi-structured interviews with 'a combined total of slightly more than forty people of varying age groups' in Cuba, and 15 semi-structured interviews with relatives of the original sample participants, based in Miami and Spain. 14 months of participant observation in Cuba between 2003-2004, and further trips in 2006, 2008 and 2009. No secondary sources of data stated, and no data analysis methods stated.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||Yes|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
This article describes practices of informal digital media circulation emerging in urban Cuba between 2005 and 2010, drawing from interviews and ethnographic research in the city of Santiago de Cuba. The Cuban new media landscape is supported by informal networks that blend financial and social exchanges to circulate goods, media, and currency in ways that are often illegal but are largely tolerated. Presenting two case studies of young, educated Cubans who rely on the circulation of film and television content via external hard drives for most of their media consumption, I suggest that the emphasis of much existing literature on the role of state censorship and control in Cuban new media policy overlook the everyday practices through which Cubans are regularly engaged with Latin and U.S. American popular culture. Further, informal economies have been central to everyday life in Cuba both during the height of the Soviet socialist era and in the period since the collapse of the Soviet Union that has seen a juxtaposition of some market reforms alongside centrally planned policies. In the context of nearly two decades of economic crisis, consumer shortages and a dual economy, Cuban people use both informal and state-sanctioned networks to acquire goods ranging from groceries to furnishings and domestic appliances. Understanding the informal media economy of Cuba within this broader context helps to explain how the consumption of commercial American media is largely uncontroversial within Cuban everyday life despite the fraught politics that often dominates discussions of Cuban media policy.
Main Results of the Study
The main results reported in the study:
- The media landscape of Cuba is characterized by a deep connection to transnational circuits of media consumption despite official and technological isolation that limits the everyday connectivity of most Cubans to new media and information technologies.
- Although Cubans complain about the dullness of nationally produced television, or about the prohibitive prices of media technologies, at the same time they engage daily in the consumption of transnational media that is either legal and state supported or largely informal or illegal but clearly tolerated by the state.
- Cubans supplement their television consumption with other media, not to access entertainment that is otherwise prohibited via state broadcasting but rather to increase the hours of leisure time spent watching films and television, to “time-shift” their viewing outside the broadcast schedule, to seek out special titles or genres that are not prohibited, and to share media as a social practice by which relationships are maintained and, in some cases, profits are gained.
- In the context of nearly two decades of economic crisis, consumer shortages, and a dual economy, Cuban people use both informal and state-sanctioned networks to acquire goods ranging from groceries to furnishings and domestic appliances. Understanding the informal media economy of Cuba within this broader context helps to explain how and why such consumption of commercial, largely North American, media is largely uncontroversial within Cuban everyday life despite the fraught politics that often dominates discussions of Cuban media policy.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Policy implications reported in the study:
- Media and communications technologies have been changing dramatically since the mid-twentieth century, and Cuban revolutionary models developed for mass media have not been easily translated to new digital media forms. Cuban consumers are remarkably current with mainstream media culture in the Latin American–Caribbean region, but their experience of such culture takes place within an unusual infrastructure with distinctive routes for the consumption and circulation of media contents and technologies.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||2003-2009|