Life is Hard: Machismo, Danger, and the Intimacy of Power in Nicaragua
"Rambo took the barrios by storm: Spanish videotapes of the movie were widely available, and nearly all the boys and young men had seen it, usually on the VCRs of their family's more affluent friends. . . . As one young Sandinista commented, 'Rambo is like the Nicaraguan soldier. He's a superman. And if the United States invades, we'll cut the marines down like Rambo did.' And then he mimicked Rambo's famous war howl and mimed his arc of machine gun fire. We both laughed."—from the book
There is a Nicaragua that Americans have rarely seen or heard about, a nation of jarring political paradoxes and staggering social and cultural flux. In this Nicaragua, the culture of machismo still governs most relationships, insidious racism belies official declarations of ethnic harmony, sexual relationships between men differ starkly from American conceptions of homosexuality, and fascination with all things American is rampant. Roger Lancaster reveals the enduring character of Nicaraguan society as he records the experiences of three families and their community through times of war, hyperinflation, dire shortages, and political turmoil.
Life is hard for the inhabitants of working class barrios like Do˝a Flora, who expects little from men and who has reared her four children with the help of a constant female companion; and life is hard for Miguel, undersized and vulnerable, stigmatized as a cochˇn—a "faggot"—until he learned to fight back against his brutalizers.
Through candid discussions with young and old Nicaraguans, men and women, Lancaster constructs an account of the successes and failures of the 1979 Sandinista Revolution, documenting the effects of war and embargo on the cultural and economic fabric of Nicaraguan society. He tracks the break up of families, surveys informal networks that allow female-headed households to survive, explores the gradual transformation of the culture of machismo, and reveals a world where heroic efforts have been stymied and the best hopes deferred. This vast chronicle is sustained by a rich theoretical interpretation of the meanings of ideology, power, and the family in a revolutionary setting.
Played out against a backdrop of political travail and social dislocation, this work is a story of survival and resistance but also of humor and happiness. Roger Lancaster shows us that life is hard, but then too, life goes on.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
active Aida AMNLAE anden anthropology asked Atlantic coast avocados barrio boys chicken soup church cochon color compadrazgo compadres context crisis culture defined desmoche discourse Dona Celia Dona Flora drinking economic El nuevo diario Elvis Erasmus Jimenez friends FSLN gender gin rummy gossip hard heterosexual homosexual Honduras household human husband ideology informants intercourse Jaime less living machismo machista male Managua Marxist masculinity Maximo means mestizo Miguel military mother neighborhood neighbors never Nica Nicara Nicaragua North American nuevo diario one's Onix Osvaldo passive perhaps play political poor popular practices produced question racism relations revolution revolutionary Roger Rolando rules Sandinismo Sandinista semana comica sense sexual social society sometimes Somoza sort speech stigma talk things tion traditional transvestism U.S. dollars United various violence Virgilio woman women Zelmira