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Borders in Latin America


Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


The conceptualization of borders is at the core of Latin American postcolonial studies. It refers to a contested space of knowledge where dynamics of sovereignty and subjugation operate as two poles in irresolute tension, producing in turn political, social, and cultural differences that are essential in the most current discussions taking place in the field. It is primarily a geopolitical notion, traceable to the establishment of the Spanish colonies in the sixteenth century. It is later redefined as a decisive factor in the various processes of independence in the nineteenth century and the nations’ search for a Western-based modernity. From the mid-1800s to the turn of the twentieth century, the positivistic approaches to urbanization and economic growth of most Latin American governments conceived marginalized regions within their respective countries as the ultimate domestic cultural border impeding the consolidation of national identities. More recently, however, borders are at the center of postnational debates, the deconstruction of discourses of nationalism, and the redefinition of postmodern subjectivities, globalization, and cultural hybridity in the age of neoliberalism. From specific conflicts of influence and domination between Latin American countries, to the legacies of US interventions in the region, and the complex US-Mexico relations that unfold along the geopolitical ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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