Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1995

Publication Citation

2 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 371 (1995)


Professor Buchanan begins her paper by questioning whether

recent economic and political shifts towards notions of

"globalization" (e.g., the NAFTA) 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" (a complex of legal,

institutional, regulatory, and social orderings), 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 underemphasized its

different local, sectoral, and regional impacts. In places such as

the US.-Mexico border region, the various forces of labor, capital,

and regulation interact in complex ways; the complexities (and

realities) 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

maquiladora industry, including labor migration into the United

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the outdated, territorial concept of "borders" to the richer, more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."