Boricua Power: A Political History of Puerto Ricans in the United States

By José Ramón Sánchez | Go to book overview
Save to active project



1. Amos H. Hawley, “Power as an Attribute of Social Sys- tems,” The American Journal of Sociology 68 (January 1963): 422.

2. Pierre Bourdieu et al., Acad- emic Discourse: Linguistic Mis- understanding and Professorial Power. Richard Teese, trans. (Stanford, CA: Stanford U. Press, 1996).

3. The most prominent alter- native metaphor for power found in social theory literature is that of a game (Clegg 1989, 209). Bowles and Gintis argue, for in- stance, for the use of chess as an analytical metaphor because it offers “both an activity (playing chess) and a structure (the rules of chess)” (1986, 118). Power, like chess, is a game with roles and rules. But, real-life power is very different from chess. Chess is deliberative and calculating. The creation, destruction, and use of power very often are not. In addition, those with great power are often in a position to change the rules. The ability to ad-lib and modify the rules, even to change them, makes dancing a much better metaphor for power. Historians of social dancing argue, in fact, that the role of leader and follower evolved as a mutual agreement between dance partners needing a system for de- ciding when to turn, in what di- rection, and how to avoid bump- ing into other couples. It is for that reason that “the leading partner was responsible for steer- ing a safe course around the ball- room, and the other partner had to follow the leader” (Gerald Jonas, Dancing: The Pleasure, Power, and Art of Movement [New York: Abrams, 1992], 124).

4. Karl Marx, Grundrisse (London: Penguin Books, 1973), 92.

5. Data in this paragraph from March 1994 Current Population Survey (CPS), Bureau of the Cen- sus, U.S. Department of Com- merce.

6. Boricua First press release, May 16, 1995. See also on this issue Angelo Falcon, “De'tras Pa'lante: Explorations on the Fu- ture of Puerto Ricans,” in Haslip- Viera et al., 2004, 156.

7. “Puerto Rican Obituary” in Santiago and Galster 1995, 182.


1. Bourdieu also pictured power as a game complete with players, rules, and the tokens of value that the players compete over and capture (see Pierre Bourdieu and L. J. D. Wacquant, An Invitation to Reflexive Sociol- ogy [Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 1992]). He also recognized the limitations of the game meta- phor—power is not a deliberate creation and has mostly implicit rules. The more important differ- ence is that most agents in the so- cial relations that create power aren't involved in and don't per- ceive what they do as a competi- tion. This is what makes dance a more appropriate model.

2. Many theories of power identify its existence as a function of conscious and unconscious re- sistance. Thus, Dahl claims that A has power over B to the extent that A can make B do something B would otherwise not do. I avoid this overly narrow defini- tion, which ignores the role of so- cial structures that make things happen and often at such a dis- tance that B is not even aware. I define power as the ability to shape the way others think, act, and feel.

3. Something similar is also at work in the relationship between attorneys and clients as well as doctors and patients. See Marcia A. Hillary and Joel T. Johnson, “Social Power and Interactional Style in the Divorce Attorney/Cli- ent Dyad,” Journal of Divorce 12 (4) (1989) 89–102.

4. See Martin Tolchin, “Con- gress's Influential Aides Discover Power but Little Glory on Capi- tal Hill,” New York Times, Nov. 12, 1991, A22. Also see Harrison W. Fox and Susan W. Hammond, Congressional Staffs: The Invisi- ble Force in American Lawmak- ing (New York: Free Press, 1977)..

5. See Michael W. Malbin, Un- elected Representatives (New York: Basic Books, 1980), 29.

6. This is one of the critical lessons in any dance class. In an early dance instruction manual, Lawrence A. Hostetler states that even “an excellent dancer, is nev- ertheless handicapped to the ex- tent of her partner's ability—or inability” (The Art of Social Dancing: A Text Book for Teach- ers and Students [New York: A. S. Barnes, 1934], 41).

7. Geoffrey Canada relates an episode in his childhood when he and his friends stared down a man with a gun. They gave the man the look of cold hardness,


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Boricua Power: A Political History of Puerto Ricans in the United States


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 278

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?