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Free Trade Informal Economies at the U.S.-Mexico Border by Kathleen Staudt

Free Trade Informal Economies at the U.S.-Mexico Border


Free Trade Informal Economies at the U.S.-Mexico Border by Kathleen Staudt

In the aspiring global cities of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, people generate income and develop their housing informally on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Staudt analyzes women and men in low- and middle-income neighborhoods in the core an in the old and new peripheries of two cities that straddle an international border. Residents counter national and international influences to build shelter and incomes, albeit meager. But the political machinery of both the U.S. and Mexico constrains the ability of these quintessential free traders to build political communities and organize around self-sufficient work and housing in visible ways. Experiences at the border, along the central gateway for capital, job, and labor movement, offer insights to readers as the globalized economy spreads and engulfs the heartlands of both the U.S. and Mexico. People\u2019s everyday victories in countering petty regulations can counter or feed the grand global hegemonies.


This book makes a solid contribution to a variety of literatures... In political science literature, which has not paid much attention to informality, Kathy Staudt takes an important step forward toward adequate theorization of informal activities. Scholars in economics and sociology, where most of the theorizing of informality has occurred, will benefit from an analysis which looks beyond the social and economic aspects of informality on which they typically concentrate. Her analysis contributes to the border studies literature, particularly because it assesses informality and politics in the comparative context of both El Paso and Juarez. Yet its findings have important implications not just for the Mexican interior, where informality is prevalent and well-documented, but for the rest of the United States, where many of the documented processes are no doubt occurring as a global restructuring runs it course. For this reason, the book is a model for parallel studies in other non-border contexts. - Susan Tiano, University of New Mexico

About the Author

Kathleen Staudt is Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas, El Paso. She is the author or editor of Political Science and Feeminism: Integration or Transformaion? (with William Weaver), Managing Development, and Women, International Development, and Politics: The Bureaucratic Mire, first and second editions (Temple).

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Book Info

Publication date

28th January 1998


Kathleen Staudt

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Temple University Press,U.S.


211 pages


Labour economics
Development economics & emerging economies
Sociology: work & labour



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