Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
This paper examines the two busiest land border zones globally as measured by daily crossing activity in North America and Southern Africa. This includes the political border zones of Beitbridge in South Africa-Zimbabwe and San Ysidro and Tijuana in the United-Mexico. The review and comparative analysis performed in this study suggests that these border zones exist as uniquely separate sovereign zones from host countries with distinct political, social, economic and spatial qualities. These border areas are underscored by a high prevalence of migratory transience, movement and insecurity. As highly insecure and transient migratory spaces, qualities of social, economic and health exclusion and inequality figure largely into the daily calculus of the lived border zone experience. These two border zones thrive under conditions of contested survival with an ingrained dichotomy of affective and physical violence contrasted with aspirations for hope, rebirth and renewal. This paper broadly examines this contested differentiation and the distinct qualities of the two busiest global land border crossings. This analysis and discussion offers empirical directions forward to frame deeply needed continuing research, development efforts and public policy formulation at and near the political boundaries of United-Mexico and Zimbabwe-South Africa.