Beyond Corruption and Anti-corruption Narratives: Introducing A Critical Research Agenda for Puerto Rican Studies

José Atiles, Gustavo A. García López, Joaquín Villanueva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This special issue of the CENTRO Journal seeks to open a critical space for understanding and debating corruption in Puerto Rico, away from neoliberal, colonial, and legalistic representations, offering new questions, narratives, and political imaginaries. Building on critical scholarship, anticolonial and postcolonial traditions, and on conversations that emerged during and after the summer of 2019 anti-corruption protests, this introductory essay frames corruption and anti-corruption as a narrative mobilized across time and space with varying effects, shaped by colonial and racist structures. Rather than providing a narrow definition of corruption, this critical approach aims to center the analysis of sociopolitical implications of corruption narratives in a colonized, impoverished, and racialized country enduring the consequences of colonial capitalism for the past two centuries. To articulate this critical approach, this introductory essay offers an overview of the 15 articles within the special issue, and highlights the wide array of disciplinary approaches and methodologies deployed to underscore the social structures, power dynamics, and knowledges that have traditionally constituted corruption and anti-corruption narratives in PR. In the introduction to the special issue, we offer suggestions for a future research agenda on corruption in Puerto Rico, pointing to the need for further investigation of the connections between corruption narratives and coloniality/imperialism, race/whiteness/anti-blackness, gender and sexuality, arts and popular culture; the relation between corruption and migration/diaspora; and alternative anti-corruption narratives and futures. Overall, this introductory essay aims to articulate a call for the development of critical corruption studies within Puerto Rican studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-25
Number of pages17
JournalCentro Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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