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Intimations of ModernityCivil Culture in Nineteenth-Century Cuba$
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Louis A. Pérez Jr.

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631301

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631301.001.0001

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Prologue to Perdition

Prologue to Perdition

(p.132) Chapter Five Prologue to Perdition
Intimations of Modernity

Louis A. Pérez Jr.

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter five explores the societal backlash against the social and moral changes occurring in Cuban society, especially as it related to the growing presence and agency of women. The traditional value systems had fallen into disarray, and as a result, as Pérez writes, “A misogynist mood settled over the body social.” The chapter shows how those resistant to women’s agency deployed the concept of the coquetería, or coquet, to rebuke and decry the modern woman. The narrative of the coquet was used as a means of retaining social control. The chapter goes on to explore how new leisure pastimes, such as music, dancing, and time spent in salons and cafes, revealed social tensions, often creating public uproars and consternation. The chapter ends with an analysis of how gender distinctions, including conceptions of masculinity, began to unravel, leading to new freedoms and deepening anxieties.

Keywords:   coquet, gender equality, morality, Cuba, leisure

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