Historical studies of contraband trade have focused almost exclusively on the political battle between smugglers and the state. Yet a closer look at specific cases of contraband's policing, the processing of cases and the outcomes of litigation suggest that contrabandists were as often colluding with state officials as they were undermining them, and that the defense and denunciation of contraband served the political ends of local communities as much or more than those of centralized authorities. Lean's examination of contraband cases on the Chiapas-Guatemala border reveals the ways in which the criminalization of certain activities, groups and networks of trade and alliance proved useful sources of local power, not simply for state authorities, but for even the most humble finch laborer or impoverished landless mother.
As a musical genre with roots in Northern Mexico, norteña music has achieved great popularity on both sides of the US/Mexico border. Scholars have referred to norteña music as the "music of migration" and have recognized its importance as a site of identity formation and community consolidation for Mexican and Mexican American populations living in the United States. Differently, Holly's research asks: What is the social significance of norteña music on the Mexican side of the border? In her presentation, Holly will discuss her findings, with a particular emphasis on the role of norteña music in intervening in contested public space and as an important representation of rural life as government support for rural livelihood dwindles.
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