Re-mapping the U.S.-Mexico Border. High Agency, Everday Region-making, and Lived Spaces of The U.S.-Mexico Border in Tijuana

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The US-Mexico borderlands are the grand stage for geo-political experimentations of our times. Paradoxical developments such as bi-/inter-national agreements of economic integration and crossborder regional co-operation unfold alongside militarisation of these border regions. These developments are argued as linked to global forces of neoliberal capitalism and militarisation of security measures alongside criminalisation of migration intermeshed with the global war on ‘terror’. Further, rapid urbanisation processes of these borderlands have triggered heated debates around whether or not visions such as ‘twin cities’, ‘transborder metropolis’, ‘postborder city’, apply to these regions. While indeed such bi-/inter-national and global perspectives highlight the larger macrocontext of these regions, they tend to cloud or marginalise forces of everyday lived space. This global or ‘bi-national’ stage, I urge, is also an everyday lived space operating with its own dynamics and power towards producing these border regions as diverse and rich in meanings by those living here. I argue that understanding these borderlands from the ground/bottom-up is urgent. Although much interesting work has been done on the US-Mexico borderlands (at Tijuana/SanDiego regions) from this perspective, there is also a surprisingly lack of rigorous literature that centralise the meanings given by people living here towards (re)conceptualising ‘the border’ and envisioning lived regions. There is then a need to ‘decolonise’ the conceptual space of these borderlands from the ‘bi-/international’ perspectives towards centralising everyday lived space. To this end, this thesis approaches the US-Mexico border via the mental maps of everyday trajectories of people living in Tijuana, (Tijuana/SanDiego borderlands), thereby attempting at re-mapping these regions as being made everyday in practices, and meanings associated to ‘the border’ in relation to the same. Based on this I argue that any vision of these regions (‘shared region’, ‘separate’, ‘bi-/inter-national region’, ‘twin city’, ‘militarised zone’) will remain utopian unless they centralise the complex subjective mappings of those living and producing these regions every-day.
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