Savage Frontier: Making News, Making Security on the Argentine Border

Ieva Jusionyte (Author)


This highly original work of anthropology combines extensive ethnographic fieldwork and investigative journalism to explain how security is understood, experienced, and constructed along the Triple Frontera, the border region shared by Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. One of the major hot borders in the Western Hemisphere, the Triple Frontera is associated with drug and human trafficking, contraband, money laundering, and terrorism. It's also a place where residents, particularly on the Argentine side, are subjected to increased governmental control and surveillance.

How does a scholar tell a story about a place characterized by illicit international trading, rampant violence, and governmental militarization? Jusionyte inventively centered her ethnographic fieldwork on a community of journalists who investigate and report on crime and violence in the region. Through them she learned that a fair amount of petty, small-scale illicit trading goes unreported--a consequence of a community invested in promoting the idea that the border is a secure place that does not warrant militarized attention. The author's work demonstrates that while media is often seen as a powerful tool for spreading a sense of danger and uncertainty, sensationalizing crime and violence, and creating moral panics, journalists can actually do the opposite. Those who selectively report on illegal activities use the news to tell particular types of stories in an attempt to make their communities look and ultimately be more secure.

Product Details

University of California Press
Publish Date
June 05, 2015
5.9 X 0.8 X 9.0 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

Ieva Jusionyte is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. She is also the coordinator of the Crime, Law, and Governance in the Americas graduate program and interdisciplinary working group.


"A significant contribution to the ethnography of media . . . rich and open . . . interesting, and
enjoyable to read."--Dr Eleni Sideri "Border Criminologies" (11/12/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"Savage Frontier is a well-crafted work that will appeal to scholars and students alike. In addition to its contribution to the critical anthropology of security, it builds on a growing anthropological literature of news and journalism."--Dr Eleni Sideri "City & Society" (11/12/2015 12:00:00 AM)