The Legal Construction of Identity: The Judicial and Social Legacy of American Colonialism in Puerto Rico investigates how the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico has been created and recreated over the past 100 years. More specifically, the author engages in the lively exploration of how law has contributed to the construction of a particular social reality, a reality embodied by the colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

The book discusses the legal constructs and governing norms involved in the struggle for identity, specifically a Puerto Rican identity, one which claims rights to United States citizenship and participation while also asserting a separate cultural identity. The law as a crucial arbiter of self-determination and self-perception is also analyzed in relation to Puerto Ricans striving to form a distinct national identity. This book will be of interest not only to social scientists and legal scholars but also to anyone interested in the symbiotic relationship between law and society.

Table of Contents




I. Essential History

  1. The U.S. Expansionist Drive
  2. Puerto Rico Before 1898
  3. Puerto Rico Under the American Regime

II. The Judicial Construction of Colonialism

  1. The Legal Doctrine of the Insular Cases
  2. The Legal Theory and Ideology of the Insular Cases
  3. The Constitutive Effects of the Insular Cases

III. The Production of Hegemony in Puerto Rican Society

  1. Hegemony Through Citizenship
  2. Hegemony Through Legal Consciousness: Rights, Partial Democracy, and the Rule of Law



Table of Authority


About the Author