Understanding perceptions on the U. S. -Mexico border A narrative research into the Paso del Norte northern region's inhabitants' understanding of their region and the influence of cross-border activities

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The Paso del Norte region (PdN) at the U.S.-Mexico border can be seen as a shared-functional region. The region is not just separated physically by the border but also mentally. This thesis is dealing with the perception of US-citizens in the Paso del Norte region and the influence cross-border cooperation and – activities has on the understanding of the inhabitants. In here, a difference has been made between behavior influence by cognition (with the concepts of familiarity and novelty) and behavior influenced by affection (with the concepts of dissonance and indifference). The region could be an economic strong region but still faces cultural inequalities between the Mexican and the American culture. With a narrative approach and the use of mental maps it has been analyzed how inhabitants perceive the PdN region. It is a unique region and especially people in El Paso see the advantage the region can offer. In El Paso, people accept the border which also defines the regional identity in their opinion. In Las Cruces, people see the border more as an obstacle and do less perceive the region as one region. The influence cross-border cooperation –and activities has, is limited but already changes can be found. Nevertheless, these changes do not influence the perception yet.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen