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Jusionyte, Ieva

Grant Type
Post-Ph.D. Research Grant
Insitutional Affiliation
Harvard U.
Completed Grant
Approve Date
Project Title
Jusionyte, Dr. Ieva, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on ''We Walk Where the Devil Dances': Rescue and Security on the U.S.-Mexico Border'

DR. IEVA JUSIONYTE, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in October 2015 to aid research on ''We Walk Where the Devil Dances:' Rescue and Security on the U.S.-Mexico Border.' This anthropological research project documented the lived experiences of first responders -- personnel of the U.S. fire
and rescue departments: firefighters, EMTs and paramedics -- along the U.S.-Mexico border in order to raise and examine critical questions about security, statecraft and the politics and ethics of rescue. As public service providers, emergency responders are street-level bureaucrats who work on the frontlines of the post-9/11 security state, facing political, legal and ethical collisions between increasing border militarization and their social-humanitarian responsibilities. Professional ethics and healthcare laws require that first responders provide help without regard to the legal status of victims and patients, but as state actors they are also invested with political and symbolic functions of governmental authority and tightly integrated into the federal emergency preparedness and homeland security infrastructures -- part of the same system that criminalizes and injures the very people they often rescue on the border: migrants who suffer traumatic injuries from trying to jump over the wall that separates urban neighborhoods in Ambos Nogales, or become dehydrated while crossing hazardous desert and mountain terrain of the Sonoran Desert in an attempt to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints. Consisting of extensive ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, focus group discussions and archival research in southern Arizona's and northern Sonora's fire departments, this study looks at first responders as both humanitarian rescuers and uniformed state authorities to expand the understanding of the human and social consequences of security policies and border enforcement and making timely contributions to political and legal anthropology, and the critical anthropology of security.