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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: 25 September 2021

Open Secrets

Open Secrets

(p.99) 4 Open Secrets
Fires on the Border

Rosemary Hennessy

University of Minnesota Press

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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