José E. Cruz’s new book is a follow-up to his 2017 work Puerto Rican Identity, Political Development, and Democracy in New York City, 1960–1990, in which he argued that ethnic identity serves as “a positive force in political development.” Similar to his earlier work, the present text contains a rich historical tapestry of several often taken-for-granted Puerto Rican social activists, political strategists, and community organizations engaged in collective action in New York City during the last third of the twentieth century. However, and unlike his first book, which emphasized the power of ethnicity in democratic politics, Cruz’s Liberalism and Identity Politics argues more vehemently “that the aporetic relationship between liberalism and identity politics can be transcended in practice” (p. 30). He attempts to show this transcendence, or perhaps deep conceptual compatibility, throughout the book’s seven thematic empirical chapters by focusing on Puerto Rican community-based activities thr
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