University of Wisconsin–Madison

Mario Bruzzone

Ph.D candidate


M.S., Geography, University of Wisconsin – Madison (2012)
B.A., Oberlin College (2004)

Research Areas

Migration; Foucault and punishment; labor geographies; feminist geographies; policing; social movements and activism; violence

Current Research

My dissertation explores the productive operations of the US border regime. My ethnographic fieldwork has revealed a systematic detainment of northbound migrants within Mexican transit-spaces, often by non-state actors and often deep in the Mexican interior. Corroborating much recent research that characterizes Central American migrant transit across Mexico as dangerous, time-consuming, and costly, I investigate three overlapping questions:

(a) What power relations link violent transits across Mexico, ad-hoc economies of migrant consumption, and migrant labor exploitation?
(b) How do border-regimes generate effects that “reach” deep into other, ostensibly sovereign territories?
(c) What do attempts at migration “deterrence” reveal about punishment – specifically the spatial form or spatial relations of punishment?

I approach these questions both theoretically and empirically. My theoretical interlocutors include Michel Foucault, Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson, and J.K. Gibson-Graham. Empirically, I combine more than 100 migrant interviews, surveys with more than 300 transit migrants, 10 months’ participant-observation at two Mexican migrant shelters in 2015 and 2016, and readings of both US and Mexican government documents.

My Master's research collaborated with the collective "Las Patronas," a group of activists in rural Veracruz, Mexico. This research has since been published in the peer-reviewed journals Cultural Geographies and Political Geography (links below). In one aspect, my work examines the Patronas' media-facing strategy, which leverages their maternal authority to make claims on behalf of migrants in the face of a minimally responsive state. In a different aspect, I investigate the ways that the group was forced to both engage with and evade the clientelistic offers of Mexican state actors. Finally, a brief sketch the Patronas' practices is available from the Favelas@LSE blog at the London School of Economics here (también en español, páginas 51-53.)

In 2013, subsequent to my time with them, Las Patronas were awarded the National Human Rights Prize (Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos) by Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos) and were the subjects of the 2015 film Llévate Mis Amores.

Recent Publications

Journal Articles

2018: Young, Stephen and Mario Bruzzone. Feeling the pulse of the city: Racial liberalism and the geographies of tension in postwar Detroit. Urban Geography. Online before print.

2017: Bruzzone, Mario. Respatializing the domestic: Gender, extensive domesticity, and activist kitchenspace in Mexican migration politics. Cultural Geographies 24(2): 247–263. Abstract.

2017: Bruzzone, Mario. The politics of the purifier: State and economic subject-formation through Mexican clientelist practice. Political Geography 60: 223–231. Abstract.

2015: Woodward, Keith and Mario Bruzzone. Touching like a state. Antipode 47(2): 539–56. Abstract.

Book Contributions

2016: Bruzzone, Mario. On exterior and interior detention regimes: Governing, bordering, and economy in transit migration across Mexico. In Intimate Economies of Immigrant Detention: Critical Perspectives, N. Hiemstra and D. Conlon, eds. London: Routledge, pp. 105–20. Google Books link.

2012: Bruzzone, Mario. Putting the "critical" in critical mass: Patriarchy, radical feminism, and radical inclusiveness. In Carlsson, Chris, LisaRuth Elliott, and Adriana Camarena, eds., SHIFT HAPPENS! Critical Mass at 20, San Francisco: Full Enjoyment Press, pp. 131–42.

Book Reviews

2017: Invited review of No Borders: The Politics of Immigration Control and Resistance. Natasha King, 2016, London, Zed Books. In: International Migration Review 51(3): e45–e46. Link.

2017: Invited review of Choreographies of Resistance: Mobile Bodies and Relational Politics. Tarja Väyrynen; Eeva Puumala; Samu Pehkonen; Anitta Kynsilehto and Tiina Vaittinen, 2016, Lanham, MD, Rowman and Littlefield. In: Antipode. Link.

Other Publications

2013: Bruzzone, Mario. In La Patrona. you are here: the journal of creative geography XVI: 29-33. Link.

2012: Bruzzone, M., Neely, A., Peterson, S. and Woodward, K. "The 2011 Wisconsin protests." In Knox, P.L. and S.A. Marston, Human Geography: Places and Regions in Global Context, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, pp. 176-78.

Awards and Honors

Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Spring 2017
Whitbeck Graduate Dissertator Award, Fall 2016
Mellon-Wisconsin Fellowship, Summer 2016
University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate Student Research Award, Spring 2016
Trewartha/Odebolt Travel Grant, Spring 2016
Trewartha Graduate Research Award, Spring 2015
Association of Pacific Coast Geographers Student Travel Grant, Fall 2014
Trewartha Graduate Travel Grant, Spring 2014
Trewartha Graduate Travel Grant, Spring 2013
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Spring 2013
Trewartha Graduate Travel Grant, Fall 2011
Trewartha Graduate Research Award, Spring 2011

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