Borders Research Network

Co-directors: Jan Smolenski and Andreas Kalyvas

To the extent that they are spatial markers of belonging and exclusion, borders are essential aspects of politics. This working group examines how globalization and global mobility change the role and nature of the state borders and propose to rethink the concept and the practice of the border and bordering. Topics covered include: ethnographic studies of state borders, visuality of borders, design of the border infrastructures, and conceptual links between borders, citizenship, sovereignty and democracy, and material culture, thing theory and border studies.



During 2014-15 the Border Research Network group met regularly and discussed assigned readings (see the list below). The discussions led to a conclusion that instead of looking at the border as a static phenomenon, it is more fruitful to turn our attention to an anthropological concept of bordering as a process or an assemblage or political effects that must be continually (re)constructed. Also, borders are clearly associated with the political operation of othering.

The group produced an annotated bibliography and a literature review essay.

See here for a full working group report.

Readings list:

Louise Amoore, “Biometric Borders: Governing Mobilities in the War on Terror”, in: Political Geography 25 (2006), 336-351.

Stuart Elden, “Land, Terrain, Territory”, in: Progress in Human Geography 34(6) (2010), 799–817.

Charles B. Fawcett, Frontiers. A Study in Political Geography, Oxford: Calderon Press, 1918.

Giorgio Meischer, “Facing Barbarians: A Narrative of Spatial Segregation in Colonial Namibia”, in: Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 38, no 4 (2012), 769-787.

Alison Mountz, “Specters at the Port of Entry:Understanding State Mobilities through an Ontology of Exclusion”, in: Mobilities, 6:3 (2011), 317-334.

J.V.R. Prescott, Political Frontiers and Boundaries, London: Allen and Unwin, 1987.

Nick Vaughan-Williams, “Borderwork beyond Inside/Outside”. Frontex, the Citizen Detective and the War on Terror”, in: Space and Polity, 12:1 (2008), 63-79.

Nick Vaughan-Williams, “The Border”, in: Stephen Legg (ed.) Spatiality, Sovereignty and Carl Schmitt: Geographies of the Nomos, New York: Routledge, 2011, 284-290.