Works in Progress: Studies in the Political Economy of Late Colonial Puerto Rico

The Colonial-Suburban fix: Federal Housing Loans, Suburbanization and Hegemony in Puerto Rico (1950s-1970s) – Martín Cobián, Anthropology

The 1950‘s saw the begging of two trends which would forever transform Puerto Rican society: import substitution model based on foreign capital and industries, and for profit mass-produced suburban housing, or “urbanizaciones”. While the pervasive and overarching effects of the island’s enclave industrialization have been well documented, suburbanization and its attendant political economy and cultural practices has not. In this paper Martin Cobian will try shed some light on this by revisiting the public-private arrangements that made possible Puerto Nuevo, perhaps the most emblematic “urbanizacion” built in the then outskirts of the Capital. Puerto Nuevo was the first, indeed embryonic partnering of real state capital, federal money, and colonial government. It would shape the spatial political-economy of the commonwealth, provide the basis for the political hegemony of the islands ruling elite, and layer an infrastructure of feeling, what I would call the habitus of “urbanizacion”, that would from then on condition the existence of the working and middles classes.

Struggling to Learn, Learning to Struggle: Puerto Rico’s Anti-Neoliberal Education Movement – José A. Laguarta, Political Science

A discussion along with panelists and attendants on the topics of commonwealth economies, colonial states, suburbanity, neoliberalism, political struggles and its relation to working and middle classes will follow afterwards.