Puerto Rican Nationhood and the Diverse Nature of Collective Identity Construction
by Malia Lee Womack
Human rights vocabulary and institutional operations conceptualize people and society abstractly and in universal terms; this universal approach does not address the pluralities and intricacies of human experience or how colonized nations experience inequality within the UN system and within their colonial relationships. The Puerto Rican case troubles the universal human rights approach by demonstrating how collective identities are diverse in nature, rather than universally experienced, and how nations under colonial rule face heightened inequalities within the human rights system. The pages below engage with Arlene Davila's Sponsored Identities and Hilda Llorens' Imaging the Great Puerto Rican Family to explore the complexities of Puerto Ricanness as a collective identity. I analyze the diversities within Puerto Ricanness as a collective identity in order to critique universal human rights approaches.