Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Dominguez, Virginia R

Second Advisor

Chibnik, Michael

First Committee Member

Graham, Laura

Second Committee Member

Khandelwal, Meena

Third Committee Member

Midgett, Douglas


This dissertation explores how members of sovereignty movements in politically-dependent nations respond to transnational influences in their social, economic, and political lives. My research explores Puerto Rico's independence movements on the island and the U.S. mainland with the intent to uncover how transnational influences in Puerto Ricans' social and economic lives may filter into their political activities. I look specifically at how the prolific use of cultural nationalism within the Puerto Rican political community contributes to the characterization of Puerto Rico as a transnational community, and I investigate how this affects their political activities. I conducted research for this dissertation between 2003 and 2005 in San Juan, Puerto Rico and New York City, New York. I used a variety of ethnographic methods, including semi-structured interviews, participation and observation, and archival research.

I conclude that any transnational experiences Puerto Ricans may undergo in their daily experiences do not directly impact their political agendas and activities. Instead, I highlight each independentista community as distinct and illustrate the localized political goals and practices of both. I discuss the significance of spatiality to both pro-independence Puerto Rican communities, specifically as it relates to the traditional nation-state structure and the multiplicity of boundaries affecting national membership and access to citizenship and rights that it entails. Ultimately I argue that neither has the cultural eclipsed the political, nor has the transnational eclipsed the local, in Puerto Rican nationalist movements. Instead, I contend that the nation-state is still a powerful influence on contemporary definitions of national membership and belongingness, and locality and spatiality are significant motivators in today's sovereignty movements.


independence, nationalism, Puerto Rico, sovereignty, transnationalism


xv, 330 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 305-330).


Copyright 2011 Brandyce Kay Case Haub

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