chapter  Chapter 3
18 Pages

The Cartesian subject as global citizen, the migrant as non-human

Humanity, subjectivity and citizenship at the US–Mexican border 1
ByTania Ruiz-Chapman

This chapter shows how global citizenship ultimately aids in the re-staging of some bodies, specifically Latinx undocumented migrants, as non-human or less than human, which in turn ‘borders them out’ of any form of citizenship, including the global kind. I argue that crossing borders is a privilege of the pure ‘Cartesian subject’ while migrants face ‘death zones’ in the search for work, subjectivity and humanity. The global citizen is always already an embodiment of the Cartesian subject. The celebration of global citizen rhetoric reduces citizenship to a metaphor, one that erases the material inequities of access to legal and social citizenship. This chapter will demonstrate the privilege behind claiming global citizenship while showing how the celebration of the status of global citizenship perpetually reproduces the undocumented Latinx as less than human and as murderable. The Cartesian subject is a legal citizen of the imperial state. The undocumented migrant, on the other hand, is perpetually excluded from enlightened subjectivity, which is based in legal citizenship according to the white imaginary of the Cartesian subject. I will interrogate the connection between space and citizenship as it relates to migration and freedom of movement, a right reserved for the global citizen.