ABSTRACT

The Oyapock River Bridge between Saint-Georges and Oiapoque in the Amazon rainforest’s north-eastern corner stands out for its peculiar connection/divide between South America and Europe, Brazil and France. From ethnographic, intersectional, and postcolonial perspectives, this chapter deals with the conflictive negotiations prior to the bridge’s opening and the consequences experienced by people with highly diverse situated positionings. It also situates the bridge in the longue durée of cross-border entanglements by drawing on historical and archaeological findings. The core argument is that the bridge has become a one-way street, perpetuating inequalities on the basis of citizenship and its intersections with other criteria. With an unequal citizenship and visa regime put in place, the majority of residents and migrants have encountered difficulties in continuing with their historically routinized mobilities across the river. Limiting rather than enabling cross-border mobilities, this regime—encapsulated in the Oyapock River Bridge—relies on a notion of clear-cut, absolutist territorial space contradicting prevailing local understandings of shared space, fluid borders and belongings.