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The fayuca hormiga of used clothing and the fabric of the Mexico-U.S. border

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The fayuca hormiga of used clothing and the fabric of the Mexico-U.S. border

Gauthier, Mélissa (2009) The fayuca hormiga of used clothing and the fabric of the Mexico-U.S. border. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the border's economic underworld. It details the lives of ordinary people who live along state borders. With particular reference to the border between Mexico and the United States, this thesis explores how cross-border small-scale traders experience the nation and the state in their everyday economic activities at international borders. Along the Mexico-U.S. border, there is a lively trade of American second-hand clothing introduced clandestinely into Mexico where its import for resale is prohibited. Second-hand clothing is retailed in stores and warehouses along the American side of the border and brought into Mexico through an impressive system of smuggling from the United States called fayuca hormiga . This thesis is an ethnographic study of used clothing fayuqueros or "ant traders" in the Mexico/United States borderland whose livelihoods depend upon crossing state lines and exploiting differential economic opportunities on either side. This anthropological research investigates how small-scale cross-border traders involved in the illicit flow of second-hand clothing across the Mexico-United States border interact with the structures of state power. By documenting the history, trading culture, and contemporary refashioning of secondhand clothing in the Mexico-United States borderlands, this thesis sheds light on the various processes of appropriation, transformation and redefinition that second-hand clothes undergo by crossing borders. This thesis shows how the border plays a part in the economic processes through which the value of used clothing emerges and how the unruly flow of these material goods shapes the social "fabric" of the Mexico-U.S. borderlands.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Gauthier, Mélissa
Pagination:ix, 152 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Humanities
Date:2009
Thesis Supervisor(s):Howes, David
ID Code:976420
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:25
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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