By Damián J. Fernández

Cuban politics has lengthy been impressive for its passionate depth, and but few students have explored the impression of feelings on political attitudes and motion in Cuba or in different places. This booklet hence bargains a massive new method by means of bringing emotions again into the learn of politics and exhibiting how the politics of ardour and affection have interacted to form Cuban heritage during the 20th century. Dami?n Fern?ndez characterizes the politics of ardour because the pursuit of an ethical absolute for the state as a complete. whereas one of these pursuit rallied the Cuban humans round charismatic leaders resembling Fidel Castro, Fern?ndez unearths that it additionally set the degree for disaffection and disconnection whilst the grand target by no means absolutely materialized. while, he finds how the politics of affection--taking care of friends and family open air the formal buildings of government--has satirically either undermined country regimes and helped them stay in strength via growing a casual survival community that gives what the kingdom can't or won't.

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The politics of passion are defined by intense affectivity and personal engagement combined with a normative agenda driven by a moral imperative. They generally arise from potentially divisive ‘‘foundational’’ issues that establish the nature of the political community, who belongs to it, how it should be governed, and what its core of values should be. The politics of passion embrace the individual’s and the collectivity’s sense of self-worth, honor, and dignity. The politics of passion are usually motivated by codes of ethics and by normative frameworks influenced, at least indirectly, by religion.

Usually smaller groups (factions, kinship groups, client-patron relations, networks of friends and associates) are based on affection to a greater extent than ‘‘interest’’ groups or national associations. Affection is an important factor in shaping the contours of trusts and by extension those of politics and the economy. The ability to form asso- 15 Bringing Back that Loving Feeling ciations depends on mutual trust. 38 Trust, therefore, is both a cause and an effect of specific social arrangements.

Cultural pessimism (or what can be called, in a more positive turn of phrase, ‘‘therapeutic critique,’’ following Habermas) has an old genealogy in Cuban intellectual history. The initiator of this current was a theologian, Father Félix Varela, who contrasted what was with what ought to be. Varela admonished Cubans for their lack of civic interest. He claimed that only money and personal fulfillment motivated them. The tradition he initiated is imbued with a moral tone.

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