Border Crossings: NAFTA, Regulatory Restructuring and the Politics of Place

24 Pages Posted: 30 May 2012 Last revised: 30 Oct 2013

See all articles by Ruth Buchanan

Ruth Buchanan

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: 1995


Professor Buchanan begins her paper by questioning whether recent economic and political shifts towards notions of “globalization” have failed to consider the politics or economics of change in particular places. Her prime example of a “place” where integration is illogically forced against a background of differentiation is the U.S-Mexico border region. Through the scope of a “regulatory complex” she departs from the common view of the NAFTA as a productive tool of North American integration, and instead views the NAFTA as exacerbating “differences between localities, industries, and labor markets”. She argues that the debate over the NAFTA underemphasised its different local, sectorial, and regional impacts. In places such as the U.S.-Mexico border region, the various forces of labour, capital, and regulation interact in complex ways; the complexities of these interactions were perhaps overlooked during the NAFTA debates. The author briefly examines this growing region, focusing primarily on the social and economic aspects of the States and the potential for increased migration because of the NAFTA. She concludes by arguing for a shift in perspective from the outdated, territorial concept of “borders” to the richer, more complex concept of “borderlands”.

Keywords: border, NAFTA, place, politics, borderland, migration, political, globalization

JEL Classification: K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Buchanan, Ruth, Border Crossings: NAFTA, Regulatory Restructuring and the Politics of Place (1995). Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Vol. 2, No. 371-393, 1995. Available at SSRN:

Ruth Buchanan (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

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