Why Walls Won't Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide (Paperback)
  • Why Walls Won't Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide (Paperback)
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Why Walls Won't Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide (Paperback)

(author)
£19.49
Paperback 322 Pages / Published: 10/12/2015
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When thinking about the border separating the United States from Mexico, what typically comes to mind is an unwelcoming zone with violent, poverty-ridden towns, cities, and maquiladoras on one side and an increasingly militarized network of barriers and surveillance systems on the other. It was not always this way. In fact, from the end of Mexican-American War until the late twentieth century, the border was a very porous and loosely regulated region. In this sweeping account of life within the United States-Mexican border zone, acclaimed urbanist and geographer Michael Dear traces the border's long history of cultural interaction, from exchanges between the region's numerous Mesoamerican tribes onwards. Once Mexican and American settlers met at the Rio Grande and the southwest in the nineteenth century, new forms of interaction evolved. But as Dear warns in his bracing study, this vibrant zone of cultural and social amalgamation is in danger of fading away because of highly restrictive American policies and the violence along Mexico's side of the border. As he explains through analyses of the U.S. border security complex and the emerging Mexican narco-state, the very existence of the "third nation" occupied by both Americans and Mexicans is under serious threat. But through a series of evocative portraits of contemporary border communities, he shows that the potential for revitalizing this in-between nation still remains. Combining a broad historical perspective and a commanding overview of present-day problems, Why Walls Won't Work represents a major intellectual foray into one of the most hotly contested political issues of our era.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190235253
Number of pages: 322
Weight: 474 g
Dimensions: 233 x 156 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
A fascinating and indispensable book for everyone living in North America. Michael Dear deploys a rigorous social science mixed with the fresh eye of an explorer to guide us through the 'third nation' that has sprung up between Mexico and the US. * Sergio Aguayo, El Colegio de Mexico *
In this lucid, concise, engaging, graceful, and constructive volume, Michael Dear draws on insights from across the social sciences and humanities to map the emergence and significance of a 'third nation,' formed from the juxtaposition, interconnection, and exchange between Mexico and the United States on both sides of their increasingly blurred political border. Dear argues convincingly and eloquently that the physical barrier being constructed along the US-Mexico frontier is an unprecedented and damaging historical aberration that will eventually be overwhelmed by the strong, positive human connections between the United States and Mexico. * Abraham F. Lowenthal, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California *
A comprehensive history of the multiple tensions and processes related to the creation and strengthening of the demarcation at the U.S.-Mexican border, based on a transnational and transdisciplinary perspective that recovers the multiplicity of visions and challenges on both sides of the border. The most novel aspect of Dear's approach is the complex and optimistic emphasis placed on the social and cultural practices of border people, which show connectivity, continuity, and the possibility of thinking about a region without walls. This is a challenge not only to the notion of border and nation, but also a powerful counterargument to the discourses of fear that permeate perceptions of one of the world's most sensitive geopolitical edges. * Norma V. Iglesias-Prieto, Professor and Chair, Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, San Diego State University *
This is an important, elegantly written volume that reflects the very hybridity it seeks to portray: it flips between Mexican origins and U.S. politics, between cultural studies and hard social science, between the personal and the analytical with a playful skill and ease that captures the very spirit of the borderlands. Dear reveals the creation of a new border culture in which blended identities and daily transnational and transcultural interactions are emerging even as the walls between our two countries continue to rise. * Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California *
Why Walls Won't Work is an excellent book that offers valuable insight into the forces that fracture the borderlands, or the third nation. Dear's contribution is important and a regional survey of the borderlands. His critiques of the Border Industrial Complex in the United States and the drug wars in Mexico are especially good. * Journal of Regional Science *

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