Step into My Garden

  • Ola Plonska
  • Younes Saramifar


Welcoming, absorbing, intriguing, bonding and unique spaces: the small-scale urban gardens of central Havana play a fundamental role in our ethnographic stories. In this chapter we introduce the urban garden to emphasize the poetics of gardening through our personal engagement with the gardeners and how they inhabit these spaces. We began our anthropological journey by way of ethnographic gardening and remained open to unexpected changes, the irregular or the indefinite. Our open approach was not only to remain creative in our anthropological craft but to adjust our methods to the challenges of the research environment. We narrate everyday life (the micro perspective) under the authoritative Cuban state through the lived/living experiences of urban gardeners. These experiences are not ‘thick descriptions’ that are linked to larger political issues but rhizomatic observations that highlight the relationships between human and non-humans within the natureculture debate.


Small-scale gardens Cuba Havana Urban gardening Everyday life Natureculture Resilience 


  1. Eriksen, T. H. (2001). Small places, large issues: An introduction to social and cultural anthropology. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  2. Geertz, C. (1998). The world in pieces: Culture and politics at the end of the century. Focaal: Tijdschrift voor Antropologie, 32, 91–117.Google Scholar
  3. Holbraad, M. (2018). ‘I have been formed in this revolution’: Revolution as infrastructure, and the people it creates in Cuba. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology.
  4. Law, J. (2010). After method: Mess in social science research. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Lennon, J., Heatley, M., & Ono, Y. (1981). Beautiful boy (darling boy). On Double Fantasy [CD]. Geffen Records.Google Scholar
  6. Nye, J. S., Jr. (2008). Public diplomacy and soft power. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 616(1), 94–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Premat, A. (2009). State power, private plots and the greening of Havana’s urban agriculture movement. City & Society, 21(1), 28–57. Scholar
  8. Saramifar, Y. (2018). Objects, object-ness, and shadows of meanings: Carving prayer beads and exploring their materiality alongside a Khaksari Sufi Murshid. Material Religion, 14(3), 368–388.Google Scholar
  9. Scott, J. C. (1989). Everyday forms of resistance. The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, 4(1), 33. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ola Plonska
    • 1
  • Younes Saramifar
    • 1
  1. 1.Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations