Volume 11


Latin American and Caribbean Culture and Social Change

Volume 11, No. 1 (2008-2009)
ISSN 1088-4610


(Click titles for full text PDF)



Analysis and Assessment of the "Brain Drain" Phenomenon and its Effects on Caribbean Countries
Nadja Johnson

In this paper I conduct an in-depth analysis of the "Brain Drain" as it relates to the Caribbean based on previous literature and conducted research on the topic. By "Brain Drain" I am referring to is the idea that there is preponderance in the migration of highly skilled and higher educated Caribbean natives to developed countries. Throughout the paper, I develop this definition of "Brain Drain" and include methodological flaws and statistical errors of the data gathered about the "Brain Drain." I also present some specific data and information about the "Brain Drain" pertaining to the Caribbean. I have included arguments that suggest that the "Brain Drain" does not exist and present rebuttals to these arguments. Finally, I end with discussing some possible solutions to the presented adverse effects of the "Brain Drain" on the Caribbean and what governments and individuals can do.

El androginismo literario en los Infortunios de Alonso Ramírez
Javier Fernández del Páramo

Los Infortunios de Alonso Ramirez , obra publicada en 1640 por Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora, ha sido, y aun es hoy, una obra de difícil clasificación genérica, debido a la mezcolanza de diferentes formas narrativas.  Partiendo de la teoría de "fictional modes" de Robert Scholes, una obra está compuesta de múltiples elementos que la hacen oscilar hacia un lado u otro del espectro de ficciones. En este ensayo pretendo, a través de un análisis de las diferentes características de la obra, presentar la no solo la hibridez, en la que se pueden apreciar elementos de relación, novela picaresca, diario de a bordo, etc., también los elementos de naturaleza mixta, neutros, que desde su posición intermedia no pertenecen a ninguna de las rígidas definiciones genéricas tradicionales. Para estas características proponemos el uso del término de andróginas, pues siendo hijas hibridas de dos géneros diferenciados, en su forma mixta pierden su funcionalidad genérica especifica, transformándose en genéricamente neutras, sin los atributos genéricos de ninguno de sus géneros progenitores. La predominancia de estos elementos andróginos, frente a elementos claramente delimitados genéricamente, presenta Infortunios como una obra híbrida, nacida de la mezcla de distintos géneros, y además andrógina, neutra en la balanza genérica.

Ernest Moutoussamy's Aurore and the Construction of a Split-level Home
Karyn H. Anderson

In his novel Aurore, Ernest Moutoussamy, Guadeloupean politician and author, seeks to simultaneously recover the history of Indian indentured laborers in the French West Indies and promulgate a political and cultural program for their modern-day descendants. However, this paper will demonstrate that the narrative of Aurore exhibits the problematic contradictions inherent in Moutoussamy's contemporary program, wherein the Indian community is exhorted to seek greater integration into French West Indian society via the maintenance of inflexible binary relationships between their community and the larger Creole community. Indeed, Moutoussamy effectively posits a center/periphery dichotomy within the heart of the periphery. Through the lens of Homi Bhabha's discussions of hybridity, this paper will examine Moutoussamy's text as an ambivalent space of mediation between politics and theory, which incorporates a strategy of "splitting," wherein two contradictory and independent attitudes occupy the same place. Moutoussamy's strategy will then be compared to that of Créolité, which conversely, promotes the adoption of a hybridized identity for all Caribbeans.

Intimacy and Reproduction: the Role of Hispanic Groups in American Fertility
Daniel Nehring and Emmanuel Alvarado

This article contributes to the sociological and demographic debate on the development of fertility patterns in contemporary U.S. society. Most industrialized societies are increasingly experiencing low fertility rates, which will amount to a considerable socio-economic challenge in coming decades. In contrast, the USA currently has a fertility rate close to replenishment level, which would enhance a stable population growth over the long term. Based on a review of relevant academic literature, this article describes this trend, focusing in particular on the impact of Hispanic immigration into the USA. Due to its high level and notable public profile, Hispanic immigration is of central importance to current debates on U.S. fertility patterns. In the first part of the article, we describe its impact on fertility patterns in socio-economic and demographic terms. In the second part of the article, we expand this perspective with an exploration of the cultural context of intimate relationships, sexuality, and reproductive choices among Mexican immigrants. Specifically, we focus on the impact of the migration experience and of changes in cultural models of intimate life in Mexico on Mexican immigrants' sexual and reproductive behavior. These cultural factors are commonly neglected in debates on the relationship between fertility patterns and immigration, and we use our argument to highlight their importance as a base for future debate.

Certifying Sustainability: The Efficacy of Costa Rica's Certification for Sustainable Tourism
Joshua G. LePree

This paper puts forth a critique of Costa Rica's Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) Program, which serves as a means for businesses within Costa Rica's burgeoning tourism industry to gain recognition for the level of sustainability in their policies and practices. A brief history of the concept of sustainable tourism is outlined, contrasting its practices with those of large-scale commercial tourism. This serves as a segue into the in-depth analysis of Costa Rica's CST, using the program's four major areas of tourism impact (physical-biological parameters, infrastructure and services, the external client, and the socio-economic environment) as a frame of reference. The CST program has been heralded by many of its proponents as a model certification scheme for sustainable tourism, and has been used as a template from which many subsequent regional and international schemes have been developed. It is argued in this paper that although the program serves as a valid starting point for certification, there are several structural inadequacies that need to be addressed in order to better align the principles of the program with the fundamental notions of sustainable tourism, which include societal and ecological well-being. This argument is based on a combination of primary sources, including policy documents and manuals from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, the World Tourism Organization, UNEP, and the Rainforest Alliance, as well as previously conducted scholarly research on the topic of sustainable tourism. Suggestions are posited which call for re-visiting the conceptual paradigm upon which the certification program is based, paying close attention to the empowerment of civil society, the treatment of cultural representations, and social-environmental relationships.

Telling (T)he(i)r Story: The Rise of Female Narration and Women's History in Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits
Kathryn M. Smith

In her essay, "Writing as an Act of Hope," Isabel Allende declares, "[n]ow, finally, women are breaking the rule of silence and raising a strong voice to question the world. . .[with] a literature that doesn't invent history or try to explain the world solely through reason, but also seeks knowledge through feelings and imagination." I argue that Alba Trueba from Allende's The House of the Spirits  is a poignant example of this subversive female narration. Her collective account, which includes her female relatives' perspectives, is a direct foil to Esteban Trueba's narcissistic, rigid, and linear version of events. Her woman-centered narration is, further, a symbol of the triumph of women's narration and their revision of patriarchal and authoritarian history. Alba watches the military erase history and devastate the country "[w]ith the stroke of the pen," but she in turn harnesses this power of writing in order to resist. Because Alba writes her family's story from the women's perspective, she includes Nivea's compassion, Clara's intuition, Blanca's love and her own resilience, all of which attributes are excluded from Esteban's version. Alba and her female ancestors therefore become living symbols of a more encompassing way of viewing history.

Entrevistas y comentarios
Luis F. Alvarado

Pablo Neruda dijo "confieso que he vivido". Yo agregaría: "afortunadamente," puesto que a lo largo de mi existencia,  la vida me ha llevado a sentarme y conversar con artistas e intelectuales que han transformado con sus ideas, su entorno. De estas conversaciones, he seleccionado cuatro con singular relevancia para el acontecer contemporáneo de América Latina: Rigoberta Menchu, Mario Vargas Llosa, Paul Krugman y Julio Scherer. Estos fragmentos escritos se enfocan a lo que hubo atrás de esas conversaciones. Estos comentarios son producto de mi diálogo personal con las sombras y el silencio y son también traiciones de mi memoria ante la incapacidad de la escritura de recrear una realidad nítida...