Drawing from the scholarship on states and illegal practices and the author's fieldwork at the Mexico-Guatemala border, this article posits new directions in the study of legitimacy, legality, and morality in borderlands. By making illegality central, the article reveals the politics and power dynamics that shape how people differentially experience the law. The article uses illegality as a theoretical lens to reexamine what constitute worthy subjects of research and standards for ethical and methodological practice.
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