Conclusion
RETURNING TO CULTURE
Exploring
the cultural dimensions of tutelary colonialism in Puerto
Rico and the Philippines, we have seen that tutelage entailed exer-
cises in cultural power. American officials employed signs to win
hearts and minds while striving to manage, manipulate, and margin-
alize meanings they did not prefer. We have also seen the limits to
this power. The elite in both Puerto Rico and the Philippines ac-
cepted tutelage’s signs, but only as they domesticated them, thereby
reproducing their preexisting cultural system. We have further seen
that this initial domestication eventually gave way to different forms
of change. In Puerto Rico, the elite questioned their initial assump-
tions, expanded their repertoire, and effected a structural transfor-
mation. By contrast, the Filipino elite continued to domesticate
tutelage while revaluing their prior schemas at the same time. To
illuminate all of these dynamics, this book has elaborated upon an
approach to culture that apprehends it as a semiotic system-in-
practice. Rather than conceiving of culture as subjective values or
beliefs, a strategic resource, or an easily malleable substance molded
by states from the top down, we have analyzed culture as a systematic
repertoire of schemas, narratives, and classificatory codes that agents
use to make meaning of the world, render the world intelligible, and
navigate their way through it.
It is time now to review, clarify, and elaborate. We will return,
Previous Page Next Page