Geoff Boyce and Jill Williams on life and death at the US-Mexico border.

by Geoffrey Boyce (University of Arizona) and Jill Williams (Clark University)

In Precarious Life, Judith Butler (2004) argues for a feminist transnational politics based on the precarity of life – the corporeal vulnerability that we each share. In the US-Mexico borderlands, the violence associated with militarized border enforcement brings the precarity of life into sharp relief; several recent shootings by agents of the US Border Patrol are illustrative.

On 2 October 2012, US Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie was shot in the head and killed about eight miles north of the town of Naco, Arizona. Politicians, right-wing activists and others in the news media immediately seized on Ivie’s death to reinforce a narrative of danger and threat ‘spilling over’ from Mexico into the US homeland. As Cochise County Interim Sheriff Rodney Rothrock stated, “The danger zone can extend pretty far north of the border” (quoted in Ryan et al…

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