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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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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Bearing Witness

Bearing Witness

(p.69) 3 Bearing Witness
Fires on the Border

Rosemary Hennessy

University of Minnesota Press

In this chapter, the author explores what it means to bear witness within the context of labor organizing in the maquiladoras of Mexico. She considers the practice of bearing witness as a way to name the political work of representation done by maquiladora worker-organizers and their allies and to link labor organizing with critical practices elsewhere. She proposes a strong understanding of witnessing as a potentially perilous and necessary practice that binds the individual to a collective endeavor and standpoint. After discussing the genres of testimony and ethnography for what they tell us about the passionate politics of bearing witness and the often vexed position of the witness-ally, the author presents stories that capture some of the complicated affective relations that bearing witness entailed for her in her encounters with organizers in maquiladora communities. These stories highlight some of the affective dynamics that shape relations along the chain of bearing witness.

Keywords:   bearing witness, labor organizing, maquiladoras, Mexico, witnessing, testimony, ethnography, politics, witness-ally, affect

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