Hinging on Exclusion and Exception: Bare Life at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Abraham Acosta

in Thresholds of Illiteracy

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2014 | ISBN: 9780823257096
Published online September 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780823261529 | DOI:

Series: Just Ideas (FUP)

Hinging on Exclusion and Exception: Bare Life at the U.S.-Mexico Border

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This chapter examines the US-Mexico border as the site of a contemporary and unprecedented crisis of global immigration. Drawing from recent critical discussions on sovereignty and the state of exception in political theory, it reflects on critical questions of the border in neoliberal times and explores the “bare life” that inhabits it. The chapter reads The Devil’s Highway (2005), Luis Alberto Urrea’s documentary narrative account of a failed expedition across the border in 2001 that killed fourteen migrants. It reads Urrea’s narrative reconstruction of the Wellton 26, a case that remains the single worst migrant death event in Arizona border history, as revealing the existence of a negative territoriality and community of migrants, without which this border ceases to be. It argues that the US-Mexico border, along with the heterogeneous figure of the contemporary migrant itself, disallows any attempt to serve as the ground for any culturally resistant claims.

Keywords: Latin America; US-Mexican border; immigration crisis; The Devil’s Highway; Luis Alberto Urrea; migrants

Chapter.  12787 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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