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Fires on the BorderThe Passionate Politics of Labor Organizing on the Mexican Frontera$
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Rosemary Hennessy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816647583

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816647583.001.0001

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Open Secrets

Open Secrets

Chapter:
(p.99) 4 Open Secrets
Source:
Fires on the Border
Author(s):

Rosemary Hennessy

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816647583.003.0004

This chapter explores the concept of the open secret as an ideological mechanism for the circulation of narrow ways of knowing and not knowing, at times formulated as sexual identity. Focusing on narratives of maquiladora workers and organizers in Mexico, it considers how homosexual identity functions as an open secret in maquiladoras and their workplaces and communities, along with some of the more unspeakable erotic bonds forged among those who participate in labor organizing. The chapter describes two faces of the open secret that both saturate the affect-culture of organizing: one a disciplinary technology aimed at conserving existing norms and power relations, the other a subversive and expansive counterdiscourse. It also examines how homosexuality haunts organizing on the Mexican side of the border, encrypted in innuendos that morph into threats. Finally, it suggests that affect-culture is often articulated through the discourses of sexuality both north and south of the border.

Keywords:   open secret, sexual identity, Mexico, homosexual identity, maquiladoras, labor organizing, affect-culture, power relations, homosexuality, sexuality

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