ABOUT THIS BOOK
In this volume the borders of North America serve as central locations for examining the consequences of globalization as it intersects with hegemonic spaces and ideas, national territorialism, and opportunities for—or restrictions on—mobility. The authors of the essays in this collection warn against falling victim to the myth of nation-states engaging in a valiant struggle against transnational flows of crime and vice. They take a long historical perspective, from Mesoamerican counterfeits of cacao beans used as currency to cattle rustling to human trafficking; from Canada’s and Mexico’s different approaches to the illegality of liquor in the United States during Prohibition to contemporary case studies of the transnational movement of people, crime, narcotics, vice, and even ideas.
By studying the historical flows of contraband and vice across North American borders, the contributors seek to bring a greater understanding of borderlanders, the actual agents of historical change who often remain on the periphery of most historical analyses that focus on the state or on policy.
To examine the political, economic, and social shifts resulting from the transnational movement of goods, people, and ideas, these contributions employ the analytical categories of race, class, modernity, and gender that underlie this evolution. Chapters focus on the ways power relations created opportunities for engaging in “deviance,” thus questioning the constructs of economic reality versus concepts of criminal behavior. Looking through the lens of transnational flows of contraband and vice, the authors develop a new understanding of nation, immigration, modernization, globalization, consumer society, and border culture.