Pulled towards the Border: Creating a Disability Identity at the Interstices of Society

Jori de Coster


Borderlands produce flows of people and commodities, but as 'in-between' places they also produce social and cultural hybrids and transformations. Within these cross-border economies, transformations take place on both material and conceptual levels. Thus, the body involved in trade networks in the borderland is subject to different socio-economic and corporeal transformations. As a borderland, Beach Ngobila, the official border crossing point at Kinshasa facing Brazzaville, creates a lot of economic opportunities for the Congolese population. It is a means of cushioning the present political and especially socio-economic situation in D.R. Congo that causes hardship, especially for people with disabilities who belong to the lower end of society. However, Beach Ngobila creates a specific situation: those most marginalized by society are advantaged and successful at the borderland through border trade activities. As a result their participation at the border zone questions the notion of "disability" in modern Congolese society.

Key words: borderlands, border trade, disability, power, identity


borderlands; border trade; disability; power; identity

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v32i2.3196

Copyright (c) 2012 Jori de Coster

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