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Mean Green

Nation Building in the National Border Patrol Museum


Gabriela E. Moreno

The National Border Patrol Museum (NBPM) in El Paso, Texas, presents a view of the history, culture, and life along the U.S.-Mexico border that is not offered in any other museum in the world. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to study and understand people and life along the border through the different forms in which they represent themselves and how they are viewed by others. Mean Green: Nation Building in the National Border Patrol Museum presents an analysis of the museum that deploys theoretical approaches in the disciplines of visual and cultural studies, border studies, ethnic studies, discourse analysis, museology, and spatial theory.

The objectives of this book are to study the varied representations, that is, the hypermasculine male and the disenfranchised "illegal" immigrant, that reinforce and challenge the dominant discourse present in the hegemonic state; to analyze why the museum represents a homotopia within the limits of a heterotopia; to learn how the museum creates imagined communities through the use of its historical patrimony; to observe the practices in relations of power by employing the notion of a panopticon; and, lastly, to understand how the museum is providing a commodification of symbols to promote the hegemonic state.

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Chapter 4: Wild, Wild West: The Construction and Reconstruction of Racial Identities (Part I)


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Wild, Wild West: The Construction and Reconstruction of Racial Identities (Part I)


The United States has become a symbol of prosperity and freedom for many of the underprivileged countries all over the world. With the increase in migration waves in this country we have also seen an overuse of the term “American” in politics, media, culture, and in our daily lives. The journey and struggle for many immigrants coming to this country is always justified by the imagery of them accomplishing their American dream and aspiring to become an American citizen who resides and flourishes in this country. In politics, for example, the term “American” has played an important role in the media when addressing the validity of President Obama’s birthright as an American citizen. And most recently, because of immigration policy changes, the term “American” is referenced more and more in all media outlets to justify the criminalization of immigrant communities that may appear to be “un-American”. In popular culture, it has become a common practice to battle each other in media outlets to prove who is more American.

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