Canada/U.S. border crossing: facilitation and constraint
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Abstract The aim of this research project is to draw on accounts of experiences ofborder crossing and regulation at the Canada/U.S. border at Niagara in order to illuminate the dynamics of differentiation and inequality at this site. The research is informed by claims that the world is turning into a global village due to transnational flows oftechnology, infonnation, capital and people. Much of the available literature on globalization shows that while the transfer of technology, information, and capital are enhanced, the transnational movement of people is both facilitated and constrained in complex and unequal ways. In this project, the workings of facilitation and constraint were explored through an analysis often interviews with people who had spent a substantial portion oftheir childhood (e.g. 5 years) in a Canadian border community. The interviewees were at the time ofthe research between the ages of 19 and 25. Because most ofthe respondents were 'white' Canadians of working to upper middle class status, my focus was to explore how 'whiteness' as privilege may translate into enhanced movement across borders and how 'white' people may internalize and enjoy this privilege but may often deny its reality. I was also interested in how inequality is perceived, understood, and legitimated by these relatively privileged people. My analysis ofthe ten accounts ofborder crossing and regulation suggests that differentially situated people experience border crossing differently. An important finding is that while relatively privileged border crossers perceived and often problernatized differential treatment based on external factors such as physical appearance, and especially race, most did not challenge such treatment but rather saw it as acceptable. These findings are located within newer literature that addresses the increasing securitization ofborders and migration in western societies.