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The United States as a Divided Nation

Past and Present

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Marcin Grabowski, Krystof Kozák and György Tóth

Is the U.S. as a country still capable of finding common ground and effective policy responses in the 21 st century, or are the dividing lines within U.S. society actually becoming too deep and too wide to bridge, with potentially grave consequences for American social, political as well as economic development? This book discusses important contemporary U.S. wedge issues such as gun rights, racial and economic inequality, the role of the state, the politics of culture, interpretations of history and collective memory, polarization in national politics, and factionalism in domestic and foreign policy. It provides readers with conceptual tools to grasp the complexity of the current processes, policy formation, and political and social change under way in the United States.
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Superiors, Victims, or Neighbors? The Collective Memory Divide between Anglos and Mexicans

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If you take away from our reality the symbolic fictions that regulate it, you lose reality itself.

Slavoj Zizek on the red and blue pill in the Matrix

This article explores the divide between Anglo-Americans and Mexicans both in Mexico and the United States that originates in diverging articulations of collective memory. This divide plays an important role in the bilateral relations between the United States and Mexico, but it is also relevant within U.S. society, where it influences the relations between Anglo-Americans and Mexican-Americans. For Mexican-Americans trying to integrate into mainstream U.S. society, the discrepancies between two different dominant interpretations of history in memory serve as an additional divisive obstacle that needs to be addressed on the individual level.

The close spatial coexistence between Mexico and the U.S. has generated serious tensions in the past, and gradually resulted in one of the most complex cross border relationships between two independent countries. Given their geographic proximity, both the U.S. and Mexico have considerable shared interests. These include, among others, reduction of drug-related violence in the border region, more effective management of migration flows, bilateral solutions for cross-border environmental problems, energy security in the North American realm, and the necessity to face the challenge posed by rising East Asian economies. Yet, despite all these areas where both states could benefit from mutual collaboration, the political reality of their relations remains below expectations. Even after the implementation of important projects such as NAFTA (North...

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