Subject People and Colonial Discourses

Economic Transformation and Social Disorder in Puerto Rico, 1898-1947

By Kelvin A. Santiago-Valles

Subjects: Latin American Studies
Series: SUNY series in Society and Culture in Latin America
Paperback : 9780791415900, 314 pages, January 1994
Hardcover : 9780791415894, 314 pages, January 1994

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Table of contents

List of Tables

Preface and Acknowledgments


1. Post-Coloniality, Corrective Studies, and the (Re)making of History

Part I. 1898-1921

2. A Contest of Structures

3. The Contradictory Mechanisms of Preservation and Transformation

4. The Rise of the "Evil-Disposed" Classes, 1898-1909

5. "Waging Battle Against Numerous Evils," 1910-1921

Part II. 1922-1947

6. "Creating a Discontented Working Class," 1922-1929

7. "The Age of Criminal Saturation," 1930-1939

8. "Rage Concentrated Twice Over," 1940-1947


9. The Subjects in Question




This book rethinks the social processes that violently refashioned Puerto Rican society in the first half of the twentieth century. Santiago-Valles explores how the new regime's socio-economic, political, and signification systems socially constructed the laboring poor of this Caribbean island as "wayward" subjects. Critically drawing on recent theorizations of post-structuralism, feminism, critical criminology, subaltern studies, and post-coloniality he examines the mechanisms through which colonized subjects become recognized, contained, and represented as subordinate.

He analyzes the structures of social control in Latin America by focusing on the evolving definitions of deviance, social unrest, and economic development. At issue are the cultural practices that necessarily accompanied and aided U. S. colonialist enterprises in Puerto Rico during a shift in the world capitalist market and in geopolitical hegemony with the Caribbean.

Kelvin A. Santiago-Valles is Associate Professor in the Sociology Department, State University of New York at Binghamton.


"The author's thinking is strong at both unveiling prevalent myths and building new explanations. Much of what he says provides very new insights into modern Puerto Rican history and because of the case in point, into key issues of current social theory. " — Juan Flores, City College of New York

"This is a provocative analysis of Puerto Rican social history that undertakes to integrate political economy and subjectivization within the context of the discourse of otherness. The topic is most significant. It is the focus of concern within sociology, social history, discourses of othering and colonialism, history, Puerto Rican Studies, and in an extended way to the application of postructuralist models of analysis. " — David Theo Goldberg, Arizona State University