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Murià, Magalí & Chávez, Sergio (2011). Shopping and Working in the Borderlands: Enforcement, Surveillance and Marketing in Tijuana, Mexico. Surveillance & Society, 8(3), 355-373.


This article examines how border enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border affects the border crossing and consumption practices of Tijuana residents. Drawing on three years of combined ethnographic research, we focus on the experiences of Tijuana residents who cross the international border with legal documents to work and consume in the United States. We argue that the tech-nologies of surveillance and deterrence that regulate cross-border transit also reshape the geographical and social landscape of Tijuana. We explain how identities and patterns of difference among border residents are reconstructed by a legal taxonomy that identifies and classifies crossers according to categories of legality. We find that these categories are locally framed and translated into a binary distinction between consumers and workers that reflect a growing gap between the rich and poor in the city. Finally, we conclude that this distinction ignores the transnational character of the city, and in particular, that consumers and workers are not mutually exclusive categories at the borderlands.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Surveillance & Society


Murià, Magalí
Chávez, Sergio