Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
This paper makes a critical engagement with Mezzadra and Nielson’s (2013) call to trace contemporary forms proliferation of borders, by addressing the production of spatial and political divisions in the city of Buenos Aires. While the authors consider the figure of the transnational migrants as central for understanding the multiplication of politico-legal regimes of labour and citizenship, the present paper focuses on the trajectories of indigenous people as subjected and also subverting forms of urban militarized policing. I analyze how militarized policing that target poor neighbourhood produce a physical border around them by subjecting them to exceptional forms of securitization. I examine the experience of urban indigenous people living in a shantytown in Buenos Aires in the 1980s. During this period the shantytown was targeted as “the most dangerous place in the country” and became the first shantytown to be policed by military force that used heavy weaponry, and checkpoints; a form of regulation that soon extended to other shantytowns around Argentine cities. I trace the segregation effects of this policing bordering practice and analyze how it impacted the daily life of indigenous people living in those shantytowns. My analysis identifies a paradoxical relation between urban segregation that emerges out of the boundary making practices of separating the shantytown form the rest of the city and the creation of relations of conviviality and commonality among its inhabitants. I examine the tensions between bordering and reclaiming belonging to the city from the dual position of as indigenous and shantytown dwellers.