Bridging fluid borders: Entangled spaces along the French-Brazilian border

Fabio Santos

My dissertation project addresses the constitution of spaces in the border region which separates and/or unites Saint-Georges (French Guiana/France) and Oiapoque (Amapá/Brazil). As the final constructions of the bridge crossing the border river Oyapock are underway, new questions arise along this highly neglected and contested border. As a paradoxical outcome of this ‘uniting’ bridge, new mechanisms of border control seem to limit local taken-for-granted practices of mobility and exchange. Yet at the same time, these practices – whether maintained or converted – create new spaces which can both stabilize and subvert spaces institutionalized ‘from above’. Drawing on a relational and processual understanding of space (Löw 2001), I aim to shed light on the dynamic constructions of and experiences in overlapping spaces by conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Oiapoque, Saint-Georges and the transnational ‘in between’. By focusing on a blind spot in both the social sciences and Area Studies, my research project aims to decenter Europe through a postcolonial lens (Randeria/Römhild 2013).

Contact: santosfabio@zedat.fu-berlin.de

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