Ethnic Classification in Southeastern Puerto Rico: The Cultural Model of "Color"
Abstract

This article presents a systematic ethnographic study of emic ethnic classification in Puerto Rico, including a replication and extension of Marvin Harris's (1970) seminal study in Brazil. I address three questions: (1) what are the core emic categories of color? (2) what dimensions of semantic structure organize this cultural domain? and (3) is the assumption of a shared cultural model justified? Data are from two sets of ethnographic interviews in southeastern Puerto Rico, including 23 free listing interviews and 42 structured interviews using Harris's standardized facial portraits. Results indicate a small core of salient emic categories with well-defined semantic structure and high interinformant agreement, reflecting shared cultural understandings of color. I discuss how systematic ethnographic methods can contribute to comparative research on ethnic classification.