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Hegemony at the Margins: Nationalism, Mapping, and State Formation Along the Guatemala-Mexico Border in 1970

  • Author(s): Porras Madero, Javier
  • Advisor(s): Perez Montesinos, Fernando
  • et al.

Borders are oftentimes perceived as byproducts of nation-state formation; as peripheral geographies that are fixed and subject to distant negotiations of power. Among other things, such understanding inhibits a conception of borders as autonomous spaces, shaped by local, regional, national, and transnational forces. More importantly, such understandings fail to question the existence and contingency of borders. This thesis investigates the Guatemala-Mexico border in 1970 to understand its role in the building of nation and state during tumultuous political, social, and economic change in both nations. In a time when state hegemony was severely challenged, the border played a central role in exposing the contradictions of nation and state construction. By engaging with archival documents, I delineate state efforts to control space—and assert hegemony—and how consensus was built during a time of fractured state hegemony, both in Mexico and Guatemala.

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