North America: Mosaic, Community, or Fortress?

Frank Graves


The author uses recent survey data to evaluate the plausibility of three competing metaphors for North America: community, mosaic, or fortress. While there is support for all three metaphors, the mosaic metaphor of separate national societies coexisting within a common economic space appears to most closely fit the empirical data. This model has been challenged by the profound influences of American concerns with security and an increasingly isolationist outlook toward the world. The author discusses how the various social, political, and economic forces currently at play may alter the North American trajectory in the future.


North America; NAFTA; border security; national identity; international relations



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