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Title: The historical articulation of 'the people' in Revolutionary Cuba : media discourses of unity in times of national debate (1990-2012)
Author: Santamaría, Sara García
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 3046
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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If there is one revolution that claims to have happened in the name of the people, that is surely the Cuban Revolution. This thesis examines the discursive construction of ‘the Cuban people’ during the periods of national debate. More specifically, this thesis analyses ‘the people’ through the lens of national newspaper Granma during the Party-led calls for debate that preceded the IV (1991), and the VI (2011) Congresses of the Communist Party of Cuba (Partido Comunista de Cuba, PCC). I then go on to discuss the hegemonic construction of ‘the people’ with contemporary Cuban journalists, who offer competing articulations of national belonging. This thesis draws on Laclau and Mouffe’s (1985) Discourse Theory, which is systematised through a combination of qualitative methods of analysis. In this work, I have analysed over 500 newspaper articles, paying special attention to historical interdiscursivity, that is, to the historical origins in which media discourses are embedded. Then, contextual factors are further examined through in-depth interviews with Cuban journalists. The data indicates that Granma has constructed a populist discourse by which ‘the Cuban people’ are united against a common, hubristic enemy. On the one hand, the revolutionary leadership has externalised problems through the mediated construction of an external enemy, the United States, which is held responsible for the failures of the revolutionary project. On the other hand, the leadership has simultaneously managed to channel a great deal of social discontent through hegemonic interventions aimed at renewing consensus from within. While the leadership has historically maintained a communicational and informational hegemony, which ensured the dissemination of the official discourse in the media, recent changes in the media and technological landscape have enabled the appearance of new spaces online, ending the PCC’s hegemonic control of the media system. In this new communicational setting, people’s demands are not just seen as the systematic result of a Revolution led astray from its democratic principles by an external enemy. Instead, the data indicates a discursive move from the externalisation to the internalisation of ‘the enemy’, presented as bureaucratic resistance to a people-led change.
Supervisor: Steel, John ; Lugo-Ocando, Jairo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available