‘The Paradox Of U.S. Security In The 1990s
: Trans-Border Challenges From Mexico In The Context Of Nafta’

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In comparison to security relationships characterised by the centrality of the state and the use of force, better explained by the ‘traditional’ security perspective, the U.S.-Mexico security relationship in the 1990s is defined by non-state actors and trans-border concerns from the U.S. point of view. U.S. security concerns regarding Mexico are the result of growing interdependence between the two countries, and the paradox of the bilateral security relationship is that these concerns only intensified in the context of NAFTA.
The kind of concerns Mexico indirectly generates for the United States requires for their explanation a non-traditional conception of security. This thesis relies thus on the combination of the ‘Copenhagen School’ and Risk Society theory perspectives to explaining security issues.
While drug trafficking from Mexico has been seen as detrimental to the social fabric of the United States because of its impact on the U.S. society, Mexican undocumented immigration has been perceived as a U.S. concern because of the possibility for this flow to weaken the U.S. cultural identity.
This thesis also includes the analysis of border environmental challenges, in particular the potential for an epidemic from contaminated water in the region, in order to emphasise that not all pressing border issues are security concerns, as well as the value of non-traditional perspectives to explain those issues that are addressed with far better results through cooperation.
Date of Award1 Oct 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorChristopher Dandeker (Supervisor), Alice Hills (Supervisor) & William Philpott (Supervisor)

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