Dr. Ricardo Perez

| Dept. of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work














"The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences."

Ruth Benedict




My current research focuses on state-driven development processes in the context of economic and cultural globalization and examines the economic, cultural, and environmental aspects of tourism development in Cuba since the early 1990s. In 2005, I initiated a field research project in three of the four tourist areas in north Cuba—Havana, Varadero, and Sabana-Camaguey—where some of the most important tourism development projects are currently under way. My research has been supported by the Connecticut State University System through AAUP Faculty Research Grants in 2005-2006, 2007-2008, and 2009-2010 and ECSU through a Faculty Research Development Grant in 2009-2010. Data from this research will be used to prepare a book manuscript about Cuba’s recent experience with international tourism development that can help demonstrate that Cuba is rapidly becoming a model for sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean, a group of islands whose economies depend heavily on revenues from international tourism.


Prior to this research experience, between 1996 and 2002 I carried out ethnographic research in southern Puerto Rico and examined the transformation of the agrarian economy in three communities where government intervention since the 1940s has sought to modernize traditional forms of economic production. Since the early 1950s, the promotion of industrial development has diversified the economic alternatives available to the rural workers. As a result, many local residents—who have historically depended on small-scale fishing—now can find jobs in several of the industries located near their communities while others migrate to various regions of the U.S. mainland. This original research resulted in a book, The State and Small-Scale Fisheries in Puerto Rico, published by the University Press of Florida in 2005.


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