Smugglers, Brothels, and Twine

Historical Perspectives on Contraband and Vice in North America’s Borderlands

Elaine Carey (Editor), Andrae M. Marak (Editor)
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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.
"Contraband is born out of the definition of boundaries marking access to rights, authority, and personhood. Smugglers, Brothels, and Twine invites readers to consider these negotiations with a collection of examples that delve beyond popular stories."—Anthropology in Practice

“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

"Each article is historically sound and makes the anthology accessible to undergraduates, yet remains sufficiently sophisticated to appeal to graduate students, borderlands scholars, or those who study transnational crime."—Canadian Journal of History

"This brief collection pleasantly surprises with its trenchant examination of the intersections of the study of vice and borders as well as with its broad thematic and geographic coverage."—Hispanic American Historical Review
Smugglers, Brothels, and Twine
264 Pages 6 x 9 x 1 Published: 2011 Hardcover (9780816528769)

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