Looking "illegal": Affect, rhetoric, and performativity in Arizona's senate bill 1070

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


What does it mean to look like a noncitizen? How can someone's legal citizenship status be determined by their physical characteristics, actions, or demeanor? These questions point to the embodied and performative levels at which border rhetorics operate in contemporary American society. As essays in this volume by Julia Johnson, Bernadette Calafell, and Dustin Goltz and Kimberlee Pérez demonstrate, discursive and political bordering is situated within a larger body of affects and performances that structure what it means to be a US American. Citizenship and civic belonging are continually (re)enacted, (re)iterated, and read (lacking) on certain bodies through their individual and social performances (Cisneros, "(Re)Bordering"; Hariman and Lucaites).1 In other words, to enact citizenship is to perform a certain way of being rooted in specific affects and emotions (feelings of safety, sameness, belonging, community, and so on). Performing particular types of difference, even if unintentional, can compel feelings of "alien-ness" and be construed as evidence of non-belonging (Ono, this volume).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBorder Rhetorics
Subtitle of host publicationCitizenship and Identity on the US-Mexico Frontier
PublisherUniversity of Alabama Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780817386054
ISBN (Print)9780817357160
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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