The Valley in the Time of Trump, or Why the Border Stereotype is So Durable



This chapter focuses on stories about the Rio Grande Valley in national news during the run-up and aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The durability of the U.S.–Mexico border imaginary in national political discourse is due to its utility as a concept-metaphor, a kind of shared domain of understanding for the American public. Donald Trump’s successful campaign for the American presidency rested largely in his ability to mobilize and constrain an abiding national narrative of the U.S.–Mexico border, using the Rio Grande Valley and its miles of border wall as the common reference point. Trump and national media alike reborder, or reinscribe social difference of the borderlands region, layering ideas on top of a 150-year-old colonial discourse about Mexico and Mexicans. The discussion addresses tensions inherent in attending to the lived experiences of all borderlands constituencies without reinforcing national ideas that produce these problems or validate additional militarization of our southern border.


Concept-metaphor Donald Trump Colonialism Rebordering Discourse 

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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

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