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 use bottom up, non-state, and denationalized approaches to prevent falling victim to the myth of nation-states engaging in a valiant struggle against transnational flows of contraband and vice. They take a long historical perspective, from Mesoamerican counterfeits of cacao beans used as currency to human trafficking; from Canada's and Mexico's different approaches to the illegality of liquor in the US 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 policy. In addition, they also employ the analytical categories of race, class, modernity, and gender, focusing on the ways that power relations created opportunities for engaging in "deviance," thus questioning the very constructs of criminality. 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.
"This is a terrific book on an important and timely topic--flows of contraband and vice across the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders. The empirically rich historical case studies are fascinating and engaging. The collective research involved is impressive." --Peter Andreas, co-editor of Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts: The Politics of Numbers in Global Crime and Conflict
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