Fear, Loathing and the Everyday Geopolitics of Encounter in the Arizona Borderlands

Jill Williams, Geoffrey Alan Boyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


This paper argues for the importance of attending to both affective and emotional experience in analysing the origins and effects of border and immigration efforts in the US/Mexico border region. We do so by engaging with theoretical understands of the politics of affect and emotion among cultural and feminist geographers and social scientists. We then examine Arizona's SB 1070 and its connection to a larger history of border and immigration enforcement in Arizona. Drawing from ethnographic work, interviews, and media and policy analysis, we engage with narratives provided by border area ranchers to unpack how these ranchers' encounters with unauthorised migrants have changed over time. We then examine how the everyday fear and anxiety associated with these encounters drive political activism and state intervention in the region. We conclude by discussing how this intervention, in turn, reproduces racial and gender hierarchies, hierarchies that are themselves affectively mediated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-916
Number of pages22
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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