“SOCIOLOGICAL ASPECTS ABOUT NARCO.CULTURE AND FUNERAL RITES IN PUERTO RICO: THE CASE OF EL CHACAL DE LLORENS TORRES"
This proyect provides a framework concerning the development of a culture connected to the traffic of narcotics, a narco-culture, and its visualization of death in a Puerto Rican context. The analysis draws from the media coverage related to the assassination of Ángel Rodríguez Isaac, a.k.a. El Chacal (The Jackal), alleged owner of a drug ring located at a public-housing complex located in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Capital City. With the analysis of this event we can identify elements of rituals of passage, hierarchies, as well as elements of a consumer society and the formation of a community.
Keywords: Narco-culture, death, funeral rites/ rites of passage, consumer society, Puerto Rico
Presented in: Fifth Graduate Student Conference Caribbean Without Borders 2014: "Beyond the Can[n]on's Range", San Juan of Puerto Rico
TO HAVE STRAIGHT HAIR: THE EAGERNESS FOR WHITENING IN THE PUERTO RICAN CARIBBEAN [Tener el pelo lacio: Ansiedad de blanqueamiento en el Caribe puertorriqueño"]
Project with: Mónica Lugo-Vélez, PhD student, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaing.
Globalisation has historically promoted the model of white culture as the model of civilization and progress. One of the icons of white culture is the use of the so called straight hair. This has generated a constant debate in the construction and [re]construction of racial and social identities instigated, in great part, by the fetishism of beauty products. Critics, like Frantz Fanon and Homi Bhabha, have manifested that our body and its multiple extensions bear manifestations of power relations and social relations. Therefore, “straightening” treatments and treatments to “improve” hair constitute a conflict between the “I” and “the other” which constantly struggle for the identity and the identification within a landscape that has been historically shaped by the “spirit of capitalism.” This paper tries to analyze how this fetishism, fuelled by the “spirit of capitalism”, gives form to other Caribbean identities in Puerto Rico and how it whitens features that would historically been associated with Afro-Caribbean cultures. Through the short story “Broken Strand” [Hebra rota] from the book Urban Oracles [Pez de vidrio] by the Puerto Rican author Mayra Santos Febres, interviews, and field observations we will explore how a straight hair has become an identity object on the margins of black roots.
Keywords: Whitening; Identity; Identities; Globalisation; Consumer Society; Postcolonial Studies
Conference paper presented in the XXIX Latin American Congress of Sociology - ALAS 2013, Santiago de Chile. Santiago