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The Law Into Their Own Hands: Immigration and the Politics of Exceptionalism Hardcover – January 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816527709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816527700
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,637,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“In addition to chronicling the rise and extent of an anti-immigration social movement, Doty offers normative arguments about the consequences of denying basic human rights to immigrants to the US.” —Choice

“Doty examines, with a broad empirical understanding, the phenomenon of border vigilantism along the U.S.–Mexico border. An original and long-awaited contribution to the literature of the field.” —Tony Payan, author of Cops, Soldiers, and Diplomats: Explaining Agency Behavior in the War on Drugs

About the Author

Roxanne Lynn Doty is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Arizona State University. She is the author of two other books, Imperial Encounters: The Politics of Representation in North-South Relations, and Anti-Immigrantism in Western Democracies: Statecraft, Desire and the Politics of Exclusion.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By matthew on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Doty argues U.S. society is becoming increasingly structured along lines of political exceptionalism stemming from fear and anger over immigration and border issues. Minuteman organizations (their actions and messages)--as part of a loose conglomeration of organizations comprising the anti-immigrant movement--and anti-immigration policy and rhetoric, are central to the increasing distinctions being drawn between "citizens" and "non citizens"..."friends" and "enemies". As an introduction to this movement and the Minutemen organizations at the center of it, this book is nicely conceived. The theoretical elaboration of sovereignty and exceptionalism is equally useful to scholars in this area. The section on the history and growth of vigilantism and nativism in the U.S. (and of Minuteman-type groups) is quite useful and the most comprehensive I've found to date. The strength of this text lies not so much in any explanations it provides, but rather in the descriptions and details it compiles on the movement and its central organizations.

However, there are a few disappointments. The ethnographic data, while interesting, comes across as loose and unsystematic. There is no description of methods employed. Rather, snippets of experiences are strewn about in order to show the reader what Minutemen may be like or what it might be like to be on patrol with these groups. This is fine, but it leaves the reader wanting more explanation. Instead, we get something that seems like a small pilot study for something more in-depth. However, it isn't easy "getting in" with groups like these. Yet, one cannot help but think this book reads more like a report from a civil rights organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center, rather than a solidly grounded academic text.
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