This article is a critique of two different types of essentialisms that have gained widespread acceptance in places as distant as the U.S.-Mexico border and different Mercosur frontiers. Both essentialisms rely on metaphors that refer to the concept of "union," and put their emphasis on a variety of "sisterhood/brotherhood" tropes and, in particular, the "crossing" metaphor. This kind of stance tends to make invisible the social and cultural conﬂict that many times characterizes political frontiers. The article wants to reinstall this conﬂictive dimension. In that regard, we analyze two different case studies. The ﬁrst is the history of a bridge constructed between Posadas, Argentina and Encarnación, Paraguay. The second is the community reaction toward an operation implemented by the Border Patrolin 1993 ("OperationBlockade") in a border that for many years was considered an exemplar of the "good neighbor relationships" between Mexico and the United States, the frontier between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.
Keywords: U.S.-Mexico border, Operation Blockade, Mercosur frontier, political frontier, Argentina, Paraguay, Mexico, United States, Posadas, El Paso, Encarnación, Ciudad Juárez, Border Patrol
How to Cite:
Grimson, A. & Vila, P., (2002) “Forgotten Border Actors: the Border Reinforcers. A Comparison Between the U.S.–Mexico Border and South American Borders”, Journal of Political Ecology 9(1), 69-88. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/v9i1.21635