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Title:Blackness, ethnicity and cultural transformations in southern Puerto Rico
Author(s):Torres, Arlene
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Whitten, Norman E., Jr.
Department / Program:Black Studies
Anthropology, Cultural
Discipline:Black Studies
Anthropology, Cultural
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Black Studies
Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:This dissertation presents a study of a set of communities of Afro-Antillean peoples of the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico. The term "community" is used in a dynamic sense to refer to aggregated people who share a cultural set of values and experiences. The people making up the community of the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico share a cultural set of values and experiences. However, the ways by which they interpret, experience and act differs among themselves because, as individuals, they draw upon a multivocal symbolic system that not only maintains the social order but can also transform it.
The purpose of this study is to understand how people who define themselves, and are defined by others, as black, construct their identity from a variety of historical and contemporary perspectives. To achieve this purpose I focus on Puerto Rican discourse at the national and local level. I discuss blackness as an ideology that not only categorizes people but informs social interaction as individuals draw upon contradictory ideologies of race. I examine how Puerto Ricans engage in racializing practices by coding their ideas about blackness in their day to day conversations about place, class and social status. I then focus on the local economy and the labor market to demonstrate how the infrastructure conditions the choices black people make as they locate themselves in the Puerto Rican cultural landscape.
The historical record is examined and interpreted in order to shed light upon the development of ideologies of race, blackness, and mestizaje and processes of blanqueamiento. By focusing on the ways by which the people of the southeastern coast construct their history and engage in ritual activities we come to understand the social and cultural contexts in which a black cultural identity is celebrated as it is reproduced and transformed in everyday life.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Torres, Arlene
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9543751
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9543751

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