The popular in Puerto Rico : archive and repertoire in the performance of bankarization and the identitarian




Corrada, Rosa María

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At the turn of the 19th Century, Puerto Rico, like other places of the world, served as a stage for the inauguration of a new form of organization of capitalism, dominated by finance capital. I name this process: bankarization. During the 19th Century, the bankarization was made visible through the foundation of different banks; among these was Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. This dissertation examines how Banco Popular, founded in 1893, has acted as protagonist in the bankarization of Puerto Rico. It also maps how in Puerto Rico, Banco Popular, together with the government, strategically appropriates the popular/lo popular through its will to performance, thereby producing the state identification effect.

This dissertation studies the performance of Banco Popular and its intervention in three stages: 1) the economic elite, from its foundation, the different banking mergers and the construction of the ciudad bancaria. 2) the governmental, by showing how porous is the border between the public-government and the private-bank. 3) the popular, by making visible the different moments of performance that show the formation of the banca-pueblo as an effective mean to make capitalism “popular.” In addition, by paying attention to a television video series by Banco Popular that began in 1965 and serve as a strategy to produce the identification effect.

This research combines ethnography and performance analysis to generate a critique about the intervention of capital and the State in the production of the national imaginary and the assumption of a common Puerto Rican subject. It examines the particular proposal about identity and the performative means that Banco Popular chooses in its intervention to produce the identification effect. I propose that Banco Popular validates and promotes Hardt and Negri’s identitarian formula of “love of the same” by referencing the racial mix that silences, homogenizes, harmonizes and banalizes. This scenario serves to promote particular political and economic interests which in turn reproduce social relations of power.




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