Line Dancing: A Performative and Phenomenological Study of the Borderlands Region of Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vermont

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Vandervalk, Sandra




This ethnographic study of the borderlands region of Stanstead, Quebec and Derby Line, Vermont uses an approach that draws from both performativity and phenomenology to explore the local life–world. I argue that there is a uniquely borderland way of being in the world in this region. This is reflected in the local experience of the border as something that unites rather than as something that divides. I suggest that the hardening border is taking a toll on the perceived unity of the cross–border community, even as a borderland way of being persists. I examine aspects of border enactment and claim that on the Canadian side, the border is cooperatively enacted, and that smart border crossing is a marker of borderlander identity. On the American side, border changes have made the borderlands into a zone of exclusion. Finally, I argue that borderlanders trouble the non–borderlander understanding of the border.


Cultural Anthropology




Carleton University

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