Playful Protest

The Political Work of Joy in Latinx Media
Author: Kristie Soares
Pleasure-based politics in Puerto Rican and Cuban pop culture
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 09/05/2023
Cloth: 09/05/2023
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About the Book

Joy is a politicized form of pleasure that goes beyond gratification to challenge norms of gender, sexuality, race, and class. Kristie Soares focuses on the diasporic media of Puerto Rico and Cuba to examine how music, public activist demonstrations, social media, sitcoms, and other areas of culture resist the dominant stories told about Latinx joy. As she shows, Latinx creators compose versions of joy central to social and political struggle and at odds with colonialist and imperialist narratives that equate joy with political docility and a lack of intelligence. Soares builds her analysis around chapters that delve into gozando in salsa music, precise joy among the New Young Lords Party, choteo in the comedy ¿Qué Pasa U.S.A.?, azúcar in the life and death of Celia Cruz, dale as Pitbull’s signature affect, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s use of silliness to take political violence seriously.

Daring and original, Playful Protest examines how Latinx creators resist the idea that joy only exists outside politics and activist struggle.

About the Author

Kristie Soares is an assistant professor of women and gender studies and codirector of LGBTQ studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.


"An important intervention in Latinx cultural studies . . . [Playful Protest] is an unmatched theorization of joy that is timely and necessary." --Choice


“This book is a breath of fresh air. Kristie Soares recuperates joy and its multiple Latinx variants, such as gozando, choteo, and silliness, as radical empowering practices. It is a brilliant challenge to critical approaches that only focus on Latinx negative affect.”--Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, author of Translocas: The Politics of Puerto Rican Drag and Trans Performance