Introduction: Broadcasting Modernity, Spectacles, and Television
Similar to other Latin American countries, television in Cuba was used to promote mass consumption and to incorporate the country into U.S. and global market economies. However, in Cuba, the medium was the product of much more than capitalist-market imperatives. As the introduction explains, television was a technology that at once represented and served as a platform for debating the merits of U.S., European, and non-Western modernities. This chapter charts the historical, political, economic, and cultural circumstances that shaped the understanding of modernity in 1950s Cuba and its impact on television. Since the broadcasting of modernity refers to industry and governmental efforts to employ television as a stage for the depiction of Cuba as a developed nation, the introduction engages with theories of modernity as well as Guy Debord’s theorization of spectacle. The ideological struggle for those who decide to conduct research on pre-revolutionary Cuba is also discussed as a way to delve into issues of sources, archives, and methods used for the project.