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Border Walls Gone GreenNature and Anti-immigrant Politics in America$
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John Hultgren

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816694976

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816694976.001.0001

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We Have Always Been Restrictionists

We Have Always Been Restrictionists

Chapter:
(p.33) 1 We Have Always Been Restrictionists
Source:
Border Walls Gone Green
Author(s):

John Hultgren

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816694976.003.0002

It traces the historical trajectory of the relationship between nature and immigration restrictionism, asserting that commitments to nature and restrictionist politics are not mutually exclusive but mutually constitutive. Therefore, articulations between nature and sovereignty create space for political maneuver, playing the ostensibly “cultural” politics of sovereignty off against the “natural” politics of the environment in ways that justify social hierarchies while speaking in languages that seem color-blind.The history of racism, coupled with the continually shifting terrain of race, has ensured that racial hierarchies are at times reflected in both “natural” and “cultural” concepts. Out of this history has developed a seemingly contradictory conjuncture. Most American environmentalists have adopted core cultural commitments that place them on the left of the American political spectrum and lead them to extend some form of ethical and political recognition to immigrants. But, on the other hand, contemporary commitments to nature remain bound up in epistemologies that have close historical linkages with conservative, restrictionist politics.Contemporary political debates are still filtered through this dichotomous nature. Creating an ambivalence that cuts to the core of American political debates and rendering nature a pivotal site of discursive struggle.

Keywords:   nature, Immigration, restrictionism, restrictionist politics, sovereignty, cultural, racism, social hierarchies, contemporary

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