Confronting a Colonial Legacy: Asserting Puerto Rican Identity by Legally Renouncing U.S. Citizenship
Centro Journal, Spring 2013, Vol. XXV, No. 1
28 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2013 Last revised: 25 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 1, 2013
In this essay I discuss the beliefs and experiences of Puerto Ricans who chose to manage their own belonging and express their cultural national identity by legally renouncing what they consider to be an imposed U.S. citizenship. Acknowledging that the legal system is a key player in shaping individuals’ social construction of their reality, I share narratives as to how some Puerto Ricans exercise the negation of U.S. citizenship to assert their cultural national identity when confronted with oppressive legal structures and unequal socio-political arrangements. My discussion illustrates how citizenship is much more than a legal construct; it is also a subjective experience that leads to agency.
Keywords: Citizenship, Puerto Rico, Cultural National Identity, Colonialism, Unincorporated Territory, Puerto Rican Citizenship, Caribbean
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