Virgin Capital: Foreign Investment and Local Stratification in the US Virgin Islands

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2010

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Abstract

Virgin Capital explores the impact of the Economic Development Commission (EDC) program in the US Virgin Islands and asks, "How do contemporary circulations of capital and people alternately build upon and complicate long-present hierarchies?" This dissertation approaches the EDC, a tax holiday program that has attracted a number of primarily American bankers to the island of St. Croix, as a space in which struggles over quasi-offshore capital produces tensions rooted in race, class, color, gender, and generation. These clashes surrounding `appropriate' financial and social investment have both integrated St. Croix into the global financial services market and produced a great deal of tension between EDC community and residents of St. Croix. Moreover, the presence of this program has generated new categories of personhood that in turn have sparked new debates about what it means to `belong' in a territory administered by the United States. These new categories of personhood are particularly gendered and alternately destabilize and shore up long-standing hierarchies of generation, gender, and place.

The ethnographic basis of Virgin Capital is 16 months of fieldwork I conducted on St. Croix, USVI. Throughout the dissertation, I bring academic writing together with the perspectives of Crucians and `EDC people.' These interviews, both formal and informal, are central to this project as they make clear the ambivalent positioning of the EDC program and its participants in the current moment of increasingly global circulations.

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Navarro, Tamisha (2010). Virgin Capital: Foreign Investment and Local Stratification in the US Virgin Islands. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/2470.

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