Revolutionary Medicine is a richly textured examination of the ways that Cuba's public health care system has changed during the past two decades and of the meaning of those changes for ordinary Cubans. Until the Soviet bloc collapsed in 1989, socialist Cuba encouraged citizens to view access to health care as a human right and the state's responsibility to provide it as a moral imperative. Since the loss of Soviet subsidies and the tightening of the U.S. economic embargo, Cuba's government has found it hard to provide the high-quality universal medical care that was so central to the revolutionary socialist project. In Revolutionary Medicine, P. Sean Brotherton deftly integrates theory and history with ethnographic research in Havana, including interviews with family physicians, public health officials, research scientists, and citizens seeking medical care. He describes how the deterioration of health and social welfare programs has led Cubans to seek health care through informal arrangements, as well as state-sponsored programs. Their creative, resourceful pursuit of health and well-being provides insight into how they navigate, adapt to, and pragmatically cope with the rapid social, economic, and political changes in post-Soviet Cuba.
P. Sean Brotherton is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Yale University.
List of Illustrations ix List of Tables xi Prologue xiii Preface. An Ethnography of Contradictions xv Acknowledgments xxv Introduction. Bodies in States of Crisis 1 Part I. Biopolitics in the Special Period 13 1. The Biopolitics of Health 15 2. Expanding Therapeutic Itineraries 35 Part II. Socialist Governmentality, Public Health, and Risk 55 3. Medicalized Subjectivities 57 4. Curing the Social Ills of Society 84 5. Preventive Strategies and Productive Bodies 111 Part III. We Have to Think Like Capitalists but Continue Being Socialists 145 6. Turismo y Salud, S.A.: The Rise of Socialist Entrepreneurs 147 7. My Doctor Keeps the Lights On 169 Conclusion. Bodies Entangled in History 182 Coda 191 Notes 193 Bibliography 219 Index 245