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Volume 53 / Social Sciences

SOCIOLOGY: THE CARIBBEAN AND THE GUIANAS


LISANDRO PEREZ, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Director, Cuban Research Institute, Florida International University

IF THERE IS ONE VALID GENERALIZATION regarding the sociological literature on the Caribbean and the Guianas examined for this biennium, it is that there is a clear trend toward works that examine diversity within national boundaries. The traditional emphasis on examining the bases of Caribbean integration has largely yielded to works on those factors that favor disintegration, or, at least, heterogeneity. The tendency throughout the region is toward studies that examine racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and class differences, largely through analyses of specific groups or classes. There has been an explosion, for example, in the number of works on East Indian immigration and communities, especially, but not limited, to Trinidad (items bi 92012108, bi 92012113, bi 91000767, and bi 90012293). The increasing attention to African cultural patterns, especially in religion, is also symptomatic of that trend (items bi 92019618, bi 92012109, and bi 91020795). Interest in the study of women and gender remains very high (items bi 90012265, bi 93023606, bi 93023607, bi 90003717, bi 92012107, bi 92012111, bi 90010586, bi 92012101, and bi 92012122). Analyses of marginality and disadvantaged classes were also evident (items bi 90012300, bi 90012286, bi 89003160, bi 90012309, bi 90012303, and bi 92012114).

On Cuba, the literature goes far beyond the traditional emphases on historical, political, and economic analyses to encompass a broad range of topics. Subjects such as culture and folklore, religion, psychosocial dynamics, and even criminality tended to dominate in the works reviewed this year (items bi 91020795, bi 92019618, bi 92012129, bi 92012133, and bi 90012309). Unfortunately, this welcome diversification arrives at a time when the austere conditions in Cuba have exacted major reductions in the printing of books and periodicals, perceptibly limiting the number of Cuban publications.

The sociological literature on the Dominican Republic for this biennium represents the most exciting and wide-ranging body of works of any country in the region. It includes well-done and well-written studies on women (item bi 92012111), race (item bi 92012127), baseball (item bi 91001115), prostitution (item bi 90012300), mass media (item bi 93000840), and the sugar industry (item bi 93023608).

Clearly, Dominican (and to some extent Cuban) migration to Puerto Rico has captured the attention of researchers working on the island Commonwealth (items bi 93024262, bi 93023605, and bi 90012296). In Haiti, studies on demography and health account for most of the works reviewed (item bi 93024189, bi 93001658, and bi 92012158).

Sociologists working recently on Jamaica have focused on various dimensions of marginality, poverty, and criminality (items bi 89003160, bi 90003717, and bi 92012114). In both Guyana and Trinidad, however, almost all works examined this year are about culture, ethnicity, and immigration (items bi 92012113, bi 92012099, bi 91000767, bi 92012109, and bi 92012105). Analyses of the population processes tended to predominate in the literature on the smaller Caribbean islands (item bi 93024261, bi 91000700, bi 92012120, and bi 93024267).


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