Home and Faraway Places



In this chapter, the argument for the book is presented: national media and political rhetoric largely reborder the borderlands, while border leaders strategically and rhetorically deploy a different story to deborder the region from rest of the nation. “The border” has become a specific device in American media and political wrangling to border and reborder, processes of making or reinforcing social, economic, and cultural boundaries in our nation, that mirror historical discourse associated with colonialism and Western expansionism in the United States. Local leaders suggest the U.S. southern borderlands are uniquely and productively American because of the region’s proximity and interconnectedness to Mexico. The argument is contextualized within place-making about the U.S.–Mexico border in major national stories in the 2010s, the discipline of Anthropology, and the author’s professional and personal experiences. Positionality and reflexivity are highlighted as key orientations to anthropological analysis of narratives of places and people.


Reflexivity Positionality U.S.–Mexico border Narrative Western expansionism 

Works Cited

  1. Adichie, C. N. (2009, July 10). The danger of a single story. TEDGlobal. TED.Google Scholar
  2. Chávez, L. R. (2001). Covering immigration: Popular images and the politics of the nation. Berkeley: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chávez, L. R. (2008). The Latino threat: Constructing immigrants, citizens, and the nation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Comaroff, J., & Comaroff, J. L. (2012). Theory from the South or, how Euro-America is evolving toward Africa. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. Fleuriet, K. J. (2009). Pregnant, uninsured, and undocumented: Prenatal care for immigrant women in south Texas. The Applied Anthropology, 29(1), 4–21.Google Scholar
  6. Fleuriet, K. J., & Castañeda, H. (2017). A risky place? Media and the health landscape in the (in)secure U.S.-Mexico borderlands. North American Dialogue, 20(2), 32–46.Google Scholar
  7. Fleuriet, K. J., & Sunil, T. S. (2015). Reproductive habitus, psychosocial health, and birth weight variation in Mexican immigrant and Mexican American women in south Texas. Social Science and Medicine, 138, 102–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fleuriet, K. J., & Sunil, T. S. (2016). Stress, pregnancy, and motherhood: Implications for birth weights in the borderlands of Texas. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 30(1), 60–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Garza, B. (2015). I’m Home [recorded by B. Garza]. On That’s Who I Am.Google Scholar
  10. Heyman, J. (2012a). A voice of the US southwestern border: The 2012 “we the border: Envisioning a narrative for our future” conference. Journal of Migration and Human Security, 1(2), 60–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Heyman, J. M. (2012b). Constructing a “perfect” wall: Race, class, and citizenship in US-Mexico border policing. In P. Barber & W. Lem (Eds.), Migration in the 21st century: Political economy and ethnography (pp. 153–174). New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Heyman, J., & Symons, J. (2012). Borders. A companion to moral anthropology (pp. 540–557). Hoboken: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jervis, R. (2019, January 10). As Trump visits border, McAllen residents ask: What crisis? USA Today. Retrieved January 10, 2019, from
  14. Martinez, G. (2019, January 11). President Trump went to a border town to prove they need a wall. Residents say otherwise. Time. Retrieved January 13, 2019, from
  15. Nevins, J. (2010 [2002]). Operation gatekeeper and beyond: The War on “illegals” and the remaking of the U.S.-Mexico boundary. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Ono, K. A., & Sloop, J. M. (2002). Shifting borders: Rhetoric, immigration, and California’s proposition 187. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Rushdie, S. (2015). Two years eight months and twenty-eight nights. New York, NY: Random House.Google Scholar
  18. Schallhorn, K. (2019, January 10). Trump visits Texas border town amid push for wall: What to know about McAllen. FOX News. Retrieved January 13, 2019, from
  19. Taylor, S. (2018, May 6). RGV FOCUS: Henceforth, the Valley will tell its own education story. Retrieved October 4, 2018, from Rio Grande Guardian:
  20. Trump, D. J. (2019, January 8). President Donald J. Trump’s address to the nation on the crisis at the border. Retrieved January 13, 2019, from Remarks, Briefing Statements, The White House:
  21. U.S. Census Bureau. (2019, July 1). Quick facts: Starr County, Texas; Willacy County, Texas; Hidalgo County, Texas; Cameron County, Texas. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from United States Census Bureau:,willacycountytexas,hidalgocountytexas,cameroncountytexas/PST045219.

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

Personalised recommendations