(In)security and Vigilance in the US-Mexican Borderlands: Watchful Citizens and Political Subject Formation

Lecture within the series "Marburg AnthroLab" organized by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology. The series offers a venue for sharing information about current projects, field experiences, and research findings with colleagues, students, and the general public and is designed to be a laboratory for the exchange of creative, innovative, but also critical ideas and a space for lively discussions.


29. April 2021 18:15 – 29. April 2021 19:45

TBA on https://www.uni-marburg.de/de/fb03/ivk/fachgebiete/sozial-und-kulturanthropologie/forschung/anthrolab

This paper draws on ongoing ethnographic research in the US-Mexican borderlands, where racialized immigration policies and increasing state surveillance are promising "security" in the face of perceived threats from “alien” and suspect subjects. While the state calls upon its citizens to be vigilant and thus actively engages citizens in security-making, this paper shows that disadvantaged actors similarly apply vigilance-related practices to protect themselves from, and fight against, state violence. The paper highlights the recursive nature of (in)security and vigilance and argues that their  intertwinement adds to political subject formation, ultimately empowering and decolonizing disadvantaged actors.


Prof. Dr. Eveline Dürr, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, LMU Munich
Prof. Dr. Catherine Whittaker, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Goethe-University Frankfurt


Philipps-Universität Marburg
Institut für Sozialanthropologie und Religionswissenschaft
Fach Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie
Deutschhausstr. 3
35037 Marburg