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The investigation of the idea of tradition—what it comprises, how it is created, and how it is maintained—is the main point made by Eric Hobsbawm and Ranger Terence in their book The Invention of Tradition. How is invented tradition conceptualized, and more importantly, how does it materialize in contemporary society? is the key question the writers are attempting to answer. The authors' major contention is that traditions are generated by society and come in two varieties: legally established by a nation's government as a tribute to its past, and informal traditions with fewer obvious antecedents (Hobsbawm and Terence, 6). The reading resonates with concepts of origins of traditions and how they influence human behavior that has been covered in other readings such as Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities: Reflections and Spread of Nationalism. The authors explicitly state that research was conducted, largely in the form of literature review, which reveals the methodology employed in Terence and Hobsbawm's study. The authors do an excellent job of portraying his opinion regarding the matter of tradition with articulacy being a significant strong suite. However, the text at times strays too far from the main concept, which constitutes a weakness. What is the distinction between a custom and a tradition? How do traditions, their conception and subsequent implementation factor into nationalism?
Part 2 Race and Ethnicity in Latin America
While delving into Farber's Cuba Since the Revolution of 1959, it becomes increasingly evident that racism is far from over in Latin America. The text makes a compelling argument asserting that the exodus of blacks to Cuba was marked with widespread societal and institutional racism which consequently led to the retaliation of the minority group with greater ferocity and frequency than in the United States (Farber, 158). The author explicates that blacks in Cuba were able to regain their cultural autonomy and even practice their traditions actively, a fact which contributed greatly to their alienation and consequent discrimination. Farber goes on to state that the oppression of black Cubans was so severe that the Cuban community had elected not to accept its existence in the nation. How does retention of traditions among minority ethnic groups serve as an accelerant toward the expression of prejudice and discrimination, against them?
Farber, Samuel. Cuba since the revolution of 1959: A critical assessment. Haymarket Books, 2011.
Hobsbawm, Eric J., and Terence Osborn Ranger. The invention of tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
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