Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Bridging the Macro-Micro-Level Rift: Applying the New International Political Economy to Gerontological Research in Castro’s Cuba

James L. Schwar.

Geo- and ethno-centric and positivist tendencies limit the utility of Western political economy theory in welfare state analysis. These limits also present in adaptations of critical theory across the social sciences. The narrative approach, and its focus on the daily life experiences of individuals, is equally restricted by bottom-up perspectives of structural influences. Thus, a gap exists between macro- and individual-level theorizing. The global scope of the new international political economy offers an explanation of welfare state activity in all socio-economic milieu. The theory also bridges the macro-micro-level rift via the integration of perspectives from above and from below. This paper submits a study of perceptions of health equity among older individuals in Castro’s Cuba to illustrate the global and holistic utility of new political economy in gerontological and other social science research.


James L. Schwar  (United States)
Doctoral Candidate
Ph.D. Program in Gerontology
University of Kentucky

B.A., History; M.P.A., Gerontology Administration Certificate, University of New Mexico. Jim has served as a Nursing Home Ombudsman, state health insurance and long term care counselor, and area on aging information, referral, and assistance specialist. His research focus is global aging, social policy, and the transformation of the medical system and health care for older individuals in post-Cold War Cuba.

  • Theory
  • International Political Economy
  • Welfare State Analysis
  • Gerontology
  • Cuba

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)