The psychology of colonial ideologies: Decoupling pro-egalitarian and neo-colonial sources of support for Puerto Rico statehood

Eduardo J. Rivera Pichardo, Salvador Vargas Salfate, Eric D. Knowles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Among Puerto Ricans, support for U.S. statehood (i.e. the complete annexation of Puerto Rico as the 51st state of the United States) has been linked to an internalized sense of inferiority, colonial system justification and political conservatism. However, no research has explored this question from the perspective of U.S. Americans. We analyse the role that the dual colonial ideologies of historical negation (of colonial injustices) and symbolic exclusion (of the colonial subjects) have in explaining support for Puerto Rico's statehood and other political status options for Puerto Rico among U.S. Americans, applying a decolonial adaptation of the Dark Duo Model of Post-Colonial Ideology (DDM). Confirmatory factor analyses validate the factor structure of our adaptation of the DDM scale in an MTurk sample (N = 435) and two student samples (N = 578; N = 381). Latent profile analyses uncover two distinct ideological groups that tend to support Puerto Rican statehood: a ‘pro-egalitarian’ group committed to both cultural inclusion and material aid for Puerto Rico and a ‘neo-colonial’ group equally open to cultural inclusion but opposed to material aid. We discuss how symbolic cultural politics, not an egalitarian commitment to material aid aimed at redressing colonial injustices, underlie support for the annexation of Puerto Rico among a significant group of U.S. Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • colonialism
  • decolonization
  • historical negation
  • Puerto Rico
  • statehood
  • symbolic exclusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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