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Keywords:

  • Race;
  • Space;
  • Liminality;
  • Costa Rica

A single highway connects the Caribbean province of Limón to mainstream society in the highlands of Costa Rica. This paper explores the ways in which that highway affects the status hierarchy of mainstream society in Costa Rica, and how the construction of whiteness as an unexamined racial qualifier for total social incorporation constrains the perception of blacks as social liminars and blackness as a state of communitas. The argument elaborates the work of Victor Turner on ritual liminality to suggest the structural ambiguity of Afro-Latin Americans in the context of Costa Rica.