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Vigilance and the (un)making of U.S. citizenship among Latinx and Hispanic border residents in San Diego

Vortrag von Eveline Dürr und Catherine Whittaker (Teilprojekt B06)

22.11.2019 um 14:00 Uhr

In San Diego, the current immigration climate and rising state surveillance have contributed to rendering Latinx and Hispanic border residents’ citizenship status precarious. It also inspires watchfulness among those feeling targeted by surveillance and those participating in it as anti-immigration vigilantes. In what ways is increasing vigilance along the U.S.-Mexican border threatening citizenship, or nurturing it? We define vigilance as a form of watchfulness which is motivated by internalised social values and commitments, which may be accompanied by concrete actions towards protecting those values. Thus, vigilance is an assemblage of moral sentiments, feelings of belonging, heightened attention, and practice, situated in specific socio-political contexts, concrete spaces, and technologies which enable it. Often perceived as being integral to good citizenship, vigilance profoundly shapes individual and collective ways of being in the world. Our ongoing research suggests that some see vigilantism as their civic duty, while others adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” stance, or act in solidarity. Based on their phenotype and family name, many Latinx/Hispanic U.S. citizens guard themselves against being mistaken for undocumented citizens. This has caused some to become human rights defenders, whereas others avoid attention, and still others actively distance themselves from immigrants, for instance, by working as border agents. These articulations of vigilant citizenship both interweave with and resist attempts at rendering Latinx/Hispanic residents unwelcome, illegal, and deportable. We conclude that not only the vigilance of the State, but also that of ordinary citizens, has been transforming notions of citizenship, justice and belonging among border residents.


Freitag, 22.11.2019, 14 Uhr


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