Latinos as the Living Dead: Raciality, expendability, and border militarization

John D. Márquez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This essay proposes a model for analyzing the militarization of the US-Mexico border and, more specifically, the death toll that it has elicited. It counters existing critiques of border militarization that imply that the border death toll is a result of a scheme for labor exploitation associated with late global capitalism. This essay argues that while entrapment and exploitation account for the economic exploitability of Latin American immigrants and of Latinos writ large, the border death toll is more a reflection of the role that race has played in structuring modern nation states like the United States. The death toll, moreover, is largely the result of how Latinidad has been produced as an ethno-racial signifier of peril within the socio-logics of US sovereignty. To account for this condition, this essay introduces the term racial state of expendability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-498
Number of pages26
JournalLatino Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • borders
  • expendability
  • law
  • necropolitics
  • race
  • sovereignty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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