Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and Identity

Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and Identity

Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and Identity

Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and Identity

Synopsis

Using historical and interview data to trace the development of Puerto Rican identity in the 20th century, the author analyzes how and why Puerto Ricans have maintained a clear sense of distinctiveness after nearly a century of United States presence on the island.

Excerpt

The concept of national identity is as elusive as it is pervasive. Although it constitutes a basic axis of global political organization, it has defied systematic analysis. Scholars, philosophers, and politicians have been unable to agree on what national identity is, much less explain its persistence as a central reference for individuals and groups. This book examines national identity through the lens of Puerto Rico and through the voices of Puerto Ricans. It asks how members of an influential group in Puerto Rican society--political elites--have perceived and expressed their own identity in the century of U.S. sovereignty over Puerto Rico. This focus on the experience of national identity provides a way to examine aspects of identity that have been largely overlooked in theoretical considerations of the topic.

Puerto Rico lends itself to a study of collective identity because of the prominence of identity issues in its recent history. The smallest and easternmost of the Greater Antilles island chain that forms the northern boundary of the Caribbean Sea, Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony for 400 years. The island passed to U.S. control in 1898. For almost a century, Puerto Ricans have been directly exposed to the political, social, and economic influence of the United States. Puerto Ricans hold U.S. citizenship and travel between the island and the U.S. mainland with no restrictions. The island population is 3.5 million; another 2.5 million Puerto Ricans reside in the continental United States temporarily or permanently, many of them making frequent visits to the island in a continual cross-migration. The extent and nature of U.S. influence on islanders' identity-- through political sovereignty, institutional links, commercial culture, and mass media--are topics of constant debate.

This study explores national identity through archival and field research. It first uses primary and secondary historical sources to describe the political interaction between Puerto Rico and the United States since the turn of the century. It then presents interviews with present-day Puerto Rican political leaders to examine the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.