Border dialectics and the border multiple: A view from the northern Caribbean

Jeffrey S. Kahn


Questions related to hybridity, creolization, and the porosity of cultural forms have long concerned anthropologists. More often than not, these issues have been explored at sites within the boundaries of national cultural spaces even when those sites are multiplied to achieve a transnational scope that spills over nation-state borders. Looking at the clash of American migrant interdiction agents and Haitian smugglers in the northern Caribbean, this article shifts focus away from the insides of territorial units and aims to illuminate the entanglements that emerge in the often hyperregimented spaces of the sovereign border itself—as distinguishable from the more amorphous spaces of the borderlands. In these interstitial seams of the global system of nation-states, one finds an ontological multiplicity but also an oppositional dynamism that sheds light on the possibility of emergent formations within this and other sites of highly contentious border confrontations.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/713630