Latino Studies

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 26–44

Delinquent Citizenship, National Performances: Racialization, Surveillance, and the Politics of “Worthiness” in Puerto Rican Chicago

  • Ana Y Ramos-Zayas

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.lst.8600059

Cite this article as:
Ramos-Zayas, A. Lat Stud (2004) 2: 26. doi:10.1057/palgrave.lst.8600059
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Latino/as and The Shifting Meanings of Citizenship Today


Drawing from my ethnographic research on “national performances” in Puerto Rican Chicago, I examine the ways in which Puerto Rican residents of Humboldt Park are criminalized and rendered “terrorist.” The essay analyzes the production of a Puerto Rican US citizenship that is “delinquent” and approaches the status of illegality that has traditionally been imposed on other Latino (im)migrants. Puerto Ricans have tried to escape a stigmatized citizenship by consistently demonstrating their deservingness and deploying a “politics of worthiness” largely centered around involvement in the US military. The essay ultimately argues that constructions of homeland security are ideological and judicial projects of the US nation-state that not only unfold in an international arena but also configure domestic opportunities, power inequalities, and racial formations.


citizenship critical legal studies Puerto Ricans Chicago popular education 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Y Ramos-Zayas
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityPiscataway