Geography Borders and Boundaries
by
Joshua Hagen
  • LAST REVIEWED: 19 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 March 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0056

Introduction

Borders and boundaries, commonly defined as the lines dividing distinct political, social, or legal territories, are arguably the most ubiquitous features within the field of political geography. Indeed, borders have become prominent topics of research for a range of scholars from across the social sciences and humanities. This burgeoning, interdisciplinary field of border studies covers a broad range of concerns, including state sovereignty, globalization, territorial disputes, trade, migration, and resource management, among other topics. As a distinct field of academic inquiry, border studies drew its initial impetus from geopolitical rivalries among European powers coinciding with rapid colonial expansion and devastating world wars during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As such, early border scholars generally focused on advancing the strategic interests of their home states pertaining to territorial claims and border demarcation. After 1945, however, scholars worked to disassociate their field from the narrow, prejudiced interests of their respective governments. As a result, border research tended to be rather descriptive, focusing on terminology and classification. This began to change around 1980—ironically, as some scholars, mostly from business and technology backgrounds, began predicting an imminent “borderless” world. In response, geographers and other social scientists developed new methodological and theoretical approaches for border studies. By the turn of the 20th century, border studies could justifiably claim to be experiencing a renaissance. Despite its breadth and interdisciplinary nature, there are some general themes that run through early-21st-century border research. Most prominent is the understanding of borders as a process; that is, borders result from processes of bordering that differentiate among places, peoples, and jurisdictions. This emphasis on process highlights borders as active forces and resources in international and domestic political, social, and economic relations. It also highlights the contingency and variability in bordering practices both across space and time. Moving forward, this makes plain that borders and bordering practices are undergoing substantive changes, both symbolically and materially, amid globalization. But it is equally important to emphasize that the changing nature of borders does not suggest that they are evolving in a uniform direction, much less simply vanishing. Instead, borders are likely to exhibit greater variability and contingency in the future, making their study even more important for understanding an expanding range of issues.

General Overviews

A number of excellent overviews of the field of border studies have been published in the early 21st century. Diener and Hagen 2012 offers a quick introduction to the breadth and depth of border studies, written to be understandable for those approaching the topic for the first time, especially beginning students. De Blij 2008 provides an empirical refutation of the thesis of borderless worlds, intended for general readers and ideal for students without prior exposure to border studies. Popescu 2012 is well suited for readers prepared for more-rigorous engagement with theoretical concerns. Readers desiring exposure to the broadest possible range of scholarly perspectives would do well to consult the competing Wastl-Walter 2011 and Wilson and Donnan 2012, both of which are anthologies. These works also offer extensive bibliographies to guide further reading. Stein 2008 is an entertaining book and an easy primer for later readings on border theory. Those interested in broader theoretical developments are encouraged to start with Agnew 2009 and Gilles, et al. 2013.

  • Agnew, John. Globalization and Sovereignty. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although the focus is not on borders specifically, this book provides useful, broader context for thinking about how varying regimes of globalization, sovereignty, and state control manifest though divergent bordering policies and practices. It is a very readable and accessible work that helps bridge the theoretical and methodological approaches of political geography and international relations.

    Find this resource:

  • de Blij, Harm. The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization’s Rough Landscape. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Eminently readable; de Blij provides a powerful counterpoint to declarations of a borderless world by demonstrating the power that international borders continue to exert over shaping differences in cultural identity, standards of living, opportunities for mobility, and political participation. This offers a good launching point for classroom discussions.

    Find this resource:

  • Diener, Alexander C., and Joshua Hagen. Borders: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

    DOI: 10.1093/actrade/9780199731503.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a concise introduction to borders. After tracing the historical development of borders from Antiquity through the emergence of the modern nation-state system, the book outlines the contours of modern border studies in terms of theoretical perspectives and topical coverage. Its attention to historical and modern bordering practices is distinctive because most works focus either on one or the other.

    Find this resource:

  • Gilles, Peter, Harlan Koff, Carmen Maganda, and Christian Schulz, eds. Theorizing Borders through Analyses of Power Relationships. Regional Integration and Social Cohesion 9. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2013.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This collection includes contributions from some of the leading border scholars, drawn from a variety of disciplines. Overall, the volume emphasizes that many theoretical perspectives can be fruitfully employed to understanding bordering practices in varied contexts. Despite the diversity of approaches, the contributions argue that examinations of power relationships constitute a common core of border studies and theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Popescu, Gabriel. Bordering and Ordering the Twenty-First Century: Understanding Borders. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a very readable account of modern theoretical approaches in border studies across a range of disciplines. It emphasizes how borders are and will remain central factors in 21st-century international affairs and will directly affect our daily lives. The bibliography is also a valuable tool for further reading.

    Find this resource:

  • Stein, Mark. How the States Got Their Shapes. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A very entertaining book explaining the formation of the fifty US states. It is mostly a descriptive history of each state’s borders. It is not really intended as an academic work, but it nonetheless highlights the contingent and constructed nature both of international and domestic borders.

    Find this resource:

  • Wastl-Walter, Doris, ed. The Ashgate Research Companion to Border Studies. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This excellent anthology includes contributions from more than thirty scholars, including many of the most prominent writers in the field. It illustrates the breadth of modern border studies in terms of theory, methodology, and topic. Ideally suited for graduate-level seminars or simply for professional scholars seeking exposure to a broad spectrum of thought in a convenient single package.

    Find this resource:

  • Wilson, Thomas M., and Hastings Donnan, eds. A Companion to Border Studies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781118255223Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is another excellent anthology comparable to Wastl-Walter 2011, and indeed they are direct competitors. Despite that and the fact that they have (almost) completely different casts of contributing authors, anybody who reads both anthologies will likely be struck by the consistencies between the two works. In that sense, both represent what could broadly be termed canonical collections within the modern border studies community.

    Find this resource:

Reference Resources

Reflecting growing scholarly interest in border studies, a number of research centers and associations have been established to disseminate news, promote research, and organize conferences on issues related to borders. The Association for Borderlands Studies originally focused on the US-Mexico border but has since broadened its mission to promote interdisciplinary research on border policy among scholars from around the world. The Centre for International Borders Research at Queen’s University Belfast also supports research on modern border policy. The International Boundaries Research Unit at Durham University engages in a similar range of scholarly activities but is more focused on border conflict prevention and resolution. The Regional Studies Association sponsors a range of interdisciplinary publications that often include topics related to borders. The African Borderlands Research Network provides a forum for scholars interested in border issues in this region, while Borderlands History focuses on the US-Mexico border region. The CIA World Factbook serves as a reliable source for those seeking basic information on international borders and border disputes. Prescott and Triggs 2008 and Shelley 2013 are basically encyclopedia-like works and invaluable references, as is Guo 2009, a multivolume series.

Edited Volumes

Edited volumes provide a great opportunity to gauge the divergent experiences of border policies and impacts around the world, with some borders seemingly becoming more open and others becoming more closed. These volumes also offer a convenient way to peruse the various theoretical and methodological perspectives within border studies. For those most interested in theory, Newman 1999 is an accessible entry point. Dispute resolution is the focus of Schofield, et al. 2002. The case studies in Diener and Hagen 2010 adopt more-historical approaches to highlight the variability and contingency of border formation and function. The remaining entries focus on modern issues. Donnan and Wilson 2010 shows the utility of ethnography for border studies. Nicol and Townsend-Gault 2005; van Houtum, et al. 2005; and Jones and Johnson 2014 offer a range of case studies highlighting the complexities of modern bordering practices. Ochoa O’Leary, et al. 2013 offers critical reflections on research practices in border studies, while Aaron, et al. 2010 draws from gender studies perspectives. Naples and Bickham Mendez 2014 emphasizes the variety of ways that borders can help facilitate collective action, with case studies drawn from around the globe. Günay and Witjes 2017 highlights theoretical and empirical perspectives on contemporary border controversies drawn from international relations and political science that emphasize border security and control.

  • Aaron, Jane, Henrice Altink, and Chris Weedon, eds. Gendering Border Studies. Gender Studies in Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The editors offer a large number of relatively short chapters focusing on applying methodological approaches emerging within gender studies to border research. Some chapters are specific case studies while others are broader surveys. The content focuses on the United Kingdom, but not exclusively.

    Find this resource:

  • Diener, Alexander C., and Joshua Hagen, eds. Borderlines and Borderlands: Political Oddities at the Edge of the Nation-State. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume includes ten case studies spanning Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. Each study focuses on the historical development and modern impact of one specific border notable for its apparently unnatural shape. Yet, through this examination, the volume lays bare the arbitrary nature of all political borders. It is a good source for detailed empirical cases to facilitate classroom discussion or to compare applications of theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Donnan, Hastings, and Thomas M. Wilson, eds. Borderlands: Ethnographic Approaches to Security, Power, and Identity. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although government policy remains a major focus, this book reflects growing interest in examining borders from a more bottom-up perspective. These case studies explore how borders affect daily life, and the various ways that people cope with the obstacles and opportunities created by borders. The book is also especially helpful for those interested in ethnographic methods.

    Find this resource:

  • Günay, Cengiz, and Nina Witjes, eds. Border Politics: Defining Spaces of Governance and Forms of Transgressions. New York: Springer, 2017.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Approaching topics from the perspective of international relations, this volume focuses on controversies surrounding border control and security and their role in defining identity, socioeconomics, and authority. The chapters provide a mix of theoretical contributions and empirical case studies from around the world. It is a solid overview of the range of conceptual perspectives on borders in international relations and political science.

    Find this resource:

  • Jones, Reece, and Corey Johnson, eds. Placing the Border in Everyday Life. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2014.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited volume emphasizes how the processes of bordering often manifest in apparently banal daily practices, frequently by actors with no apparent connection to the border, such as journalists, artists, or government bureaucrats, who are far removed from the actual location of the border. The case studies are highly empirical and draw both from developed and developing countries.

    Find this resource:

  • Naples, Nancy A., and Jennifer Bickham Mendez, eds. Border Politics: Social Movements, Collective Identities, and Globalization. New York: New York University Press, 2014.

    DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479898992.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited collection examines the growing importance of borders as markers that define territories and socioeconomic status. The case studies span the globe, highlighting how borders are central components in debates over identity and belonging. Social movements are increasingly cognizant of the potential of borders to act as resources to advance their agendas.

    Find this resource:

  • Newman, David, ed. Boundaries, Territory, and Postmodernity. London: Frank Cass, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Appearing just before the peak of the dot-com bubble in 2000 and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, this collection challenged the view that territorial borders were disappearing. The contributors highlight how borders were evolving, rather than simply being erased from the map. Although somewhat dated now, the volume marked an important moment in the growth of border studies.

    Find this resource:

  • Nicol, Heather, and Ian Townsend-Gault, eds. Holding the Line: Borders in a Global World. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The chapters in this volume provide a good mix of empirical case studies and theoretical pieces. Taken together, the volume’s contributions make clear that evidence supporting the borderless-world thesis is widely exaggerated. Increasing cross-border flows, for example in trade, migration, or security cooperation, may actually lend greater importance to borders as vehicles for negotiating these often-contradictory impulses.

    Find this resource:

  • Ochoa O’Leary, Anna, Colin M. Deeds, and Scott Whiteford, eds. Uncharted Terrains: New Directions in Border Research Methodology, Ethics, and Practice. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2013.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The scholars who contributed to this collection grapple with a range of issues related to the practice of border research, especially conducting work with migrant groups who have violated immigration laws and are under threat of arrest and deportation. It is one of the few works that examine the experience of border scholars in the field and the ethical dilemmas they often face. It is especially useful for novice scholars designing their initial foray into field research.

    Find this resource:

  • Schofield, Clive, David Newman, Alasdair Drysdale, and Janet Allison Brown, eds. The Razor’s Edge: International Boundaries and Political Geography. London: Kluwer Law International, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited volume focuses on the management and resolution of border disputes. The chapters cover some well-known disputes, such as over land in the Middle East, as well as lower-profile disputes that have been increasing in prominence, such as maritime boundaries in the Arctic and transborder waterways.

    Find this resource:

  • van Houtum, Henk, Olivier Kramsch, and Wolfgang Zierhofer, eds. B/ordering Space. Border Regions. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited volume engages border studies from the broader theoretical perspectives of cultural studies, especially approaches for discourse analysis. Most of the chapters draw their empirical observations from European cases. It is probably most useful for those already fairly familiar with theoretical trends in the modern social sciences.

    Find this resource:

Journals

Academic articles on border issues and policy are published across a wide spectrum of journals in the social sciences and humanities. Although these journals may be commonly identified with a specific field or discipline, they tend to be rather multidisciplinary in their methodological and theoretical perspectives. Geopolitics and Political Geography are the most-prominent journals that consistently publish articles focusing on border studies. Both are top-notch journals that emphasize early-21st-century theoretical perspectives on international border issues and international relations. The Journal of Borderlands Studies is the only scholarly journal specifically devoted to border studies, although it does not have quite the same stature as the aforementioned journals. Border research also appears routinely in a number of other journals. For example, Journal of Historical Geography has regular articles on early border history and demarcation. Social & Cultural Geography and Space and Polity focus more on applying modern theory. Regional Studies tends to offer more coverage on sub-state and regional borders. In addition, border research can be found in political science and international relations journals. Of these, International Studies Quarterly likely has the most consistent record of publishing research dealing with border issues. Regardless of the journal, these articles are generally written with the assumption that readers will already possess a basic familiarity with border theory, especially with the works cited under General Overviews.

Classic Works

This group includes some key studies that helped trigger a resurgence of interest in border studies beginning around 1990, as well as some older works that offer good coverage of earlier border research. Prescott 1965 is one of the latter. It is largely descriptive but provides a good summary of the earliest attempts to approach borders systematically as topics of scholarly research. Anderson 1996 is similar but provides a survey of the field toward the end of the 20th century. Sack 1986 provides a theoretical basis for bordering as a process and a strategy, while Newman 2006 is well suited for those seeking a quick overview of theoretical perspectives on borders. Rumley and Minghi 1991 is not overtly theoretical but heralded a revival of serious scholarship on borders. Peter Sahlins, Thongchai Winichakul, and Anssi Paasi each provided pathbreaking studies that helped set the stage for much later scholarship. Sahlins 1991 provides a vivid illustration of the processes accompanying the formation of modern bordering practices in Europe. Winichakul 1994 focuses on the global diffusion of European notions of borders and territory through colonial expansion, and Paasi 1996 explores the theoretical linkages between borders and identity formation. Schofield, et al. 1994 provides some basic reference material for early border studies, while Buchanan and Moore 2003 draws more attention to the ethical and moral aspects of borders. Drawing from international business perspectives, Ohmae 1990 helped popularize the notion of a borderless world, although the author’s thesis is largely refuted by border scholars.

  • Anderson, Malcolm. Frontiers: Territory and State Formation in the Modern World. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book is especially helpful in that it discusses the origins of modern political borders in Europe and the diffusion of this territorial model to other regions, and prospects for new bordering practices—for example, those resulting from integration within the European Union, growing interest in maritime borders, or border demarcation in sparsely populated areas. The last portions are somewhat dated now, but the earlier sections remain insightful.

    Find this resource:

  • Buchanan, Allen, and Margaret Moore, eds. States, Nations, and Borders: The Ethics of Making Boundaries. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511613937Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is an excellent work without peers in its approach and coverage. It examines the practices of border and territorial management within seven different religious/philosophical traditions. Such an examination highlights how moral concerns are by no means unique to modern discussions of border policies.

    Find this resource:

  • Newman, David. “The Lines That Continue to Separate Us: Borders in Our ‘Borderless’ World.” Progress in Human Geography 30.2 (2006): 143–161.

    DOI: 10.1191/0309132506ph599xxSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a seminal article in border studies and is a very useful starting point for exploring current thought and theory in the field. It provides a general summary of theoretical approaches to studying borders and nicely captures the contingent and contradictory aspects of bordering processes and institutions in the modern world.

    Find this resource:

  • Ohmae, Kenichi. The Borderless World: Power and Strategy in the Interlinked Economy. New York: HarperBusiness, 1990.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This was one the earliest books to proclaim the supposed imminence of a borderless world. This prediction is based largely on the impact of technology on the management, organization, and operation of multinational corporations. Scholarship in border studies and events in the real world soon undermined, or at least complicated, this thesis.

    Find this resource:

  • Paasi, Anssi. Territories, Boundaries, and Consciousness: The Changing Geographies of the Finnish-Russian Boundary. New York: Wiley, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In addition to its very detailed case study, this work is noted for highlighting the processes linking border demarcation and revision with national and local identity formation. As such, this work played an important role in fostering the development of border theory among social scientists, and it remains a key book in the field.

    Find this resource:

  • Prescott, J. R. V. The Geography of Frontiers and Boundaries. Chicago: Aldine, 1965.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a true classic by a pioneer in the field of border studies and was republished in 2014 (New York: Routledge). Overall, the book is rather descriptive in its approach and focuses on border terminology and typologies. Yet, it is invaluable for its discussion and bibliography of border scholarship from the early 20th century, especially regarding the territorial changes accompanying World Wars I and II.

    Find this resource:

  • Rumley, Dennis, and Julian V. Minghi, eds. The Geography of Border Landscapes. New York: Routledge, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume played a key role in advancing interest in border studies. Beyond the traditional concerns with borders as sources of dispute between states, the case studies also focus attention on life in border regions. The case studies are drawn from around the world and provide a broad snapshot of the state of border scholarship at the time. Reflecting its popularity, the volume was republished in 2014.

    Find this resource:

  • Sack, Robert David. Human Territoriality: Its Theory and History. Cambridge Studies in Historical Geography 7. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book remains a standard work despite its age. It approaches territoriality as a strategy to control people and things by creating and bordering areas. This emphasizes territoriality as an ongoing process and would be foundational for parallel theoretical perspectives within border studies.

    Find this resource:

  • Sahlins, Peter. Boundaries: The Making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This groundbreaking study examines how shifting bordering practices in early modern Europe were intertwined with new conceptions of governance, sovereignty, and identity. Although not overly theoretical itself, this work would inform perspectives emphasizing a process-oriented approach to border studies, as well as the need to look beyond state-level border policy to everyday realities experienced at the local level.

    Find this resource:

  • Schofield, Richard, Gerald Henry Blake, Clive Schofield, Pascal Girot, and Carl Grundy-Warr, eds. World Boundaries. 5 vols. New York: Routledge, 1994.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203211960Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Volume 1 provides a general discussion of theoretical and legal approaches to international borders. The next four volumes focus on the Middle East and North Africa, Eurasia, the Americas, and maritime boundaries, respectively. The volumes are somewhat dated now, but they provide a nice overview of late-20th-century theory and practices of border management.

    Find this resource:

  • Winichakul, Thongchai. Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-body of a Nation. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1994.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This offers a detailed examination of how European notions of the state possessing absolute sovereignty within a bounded space were exported through colonialism. In the process, these European norms gradually supplanted alternative/indigenous practices that often allowed more-fluid and more-flexible engagements with territory and borders. Even areas that were never formally colonized were eventually forced to adopt Western territorial norms, with important consequences for practices of identity formation and governance.

    Find this resource:

Borders in Historical Perspective

Border scholars are certainly cognizant of historical change, but because much of their orientation is toward policy, they tend to focus on modern issues. Research that goes further back in time generally tried to explain how modern territorial assumptions and practices were developed and disseminated to become the current global norm. It is often overlooked that premodern polities employed a variety of alternative systems for managing land tenure, territorial control, and border management. Scott 2017 postulates that the adoption of settled agriculture and the emergence of civilization had a variety of negative consequences, providing an intriguing foundation for considering early state formation. Williams 1997 surveys the range of bordering practices utilized by the Roman Empire, while Mostern 2011 provides a similar accounting for China’s Song dynasty. Similarly, Elden 2013 examines the evolution of ideas of territory in Western thought through the 17th century. Maier 2016 picks up the story from that point and emphasizes the role of technology in shaping modern understandings of territory and sovereignty. Readman, et al. 2014 provides a broad overview of colonial expansion as the main European powers soon reorganized and rebordered much of the globe. Van Wolputte 2013 offers a nice collection of research on borders in Africa, while Ates 2013 focuses on transformation of the Ottoman-Iranian borderland, offering some much-needed perspective to current rivalries in the region. Much has been written about American territorial expansion justified by notions of Manifest Destiny, but Everett 2014 is one of the best and makes explicit the territorial strategies buttressing this process of conquest and internal colonialization. Bartov and Weitz 2013 contrasts the sharp imperial rivalries that characterized eastern Europe with the much more fluid identities that circulated through the region.

  • Ates, Sabri. The Ottoman-Iranian Borderlands: Making a Boundary, 1843–1914. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139522496Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Very much like Thongchai Winichakul’s pioneering work, but updated to reflect more-recent literature on border studies. The book is investigates the interplay among colonial powers, indigenous elites, and borderland peoples during the process of negotiating, demarcating, and finally operationalizing the Ottoman-Iranian border. Rich empirical study, especially striking for spanning elite versus vernacular, Western versus non-Western, and Christian versus Muslim assumptions and practices concerning borders, identity, and belonging.

    Find this resource:

  • Bartov, Omer, and Eric D. Weitz, eds. Shatterzone of Empires: Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Borderlands. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited volume provides highly textured accountings of bordering processes across central and eastern Europe from the Early Modern period into the 20th century. It is most striking that a region once characterized by fluid borderlands, hybridity, and intermingling, both in terms of identity, politics, and economics, spiraled toward exclusivity, segregation, and eventually ethnic cleansing.

    Find this resource:

  • Elden, Stuart. The Birth of Territory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226041285.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Scholarship on territory has tended to focus on the modern scene and policy, but this book illustrates the burgeoning interest in exploring the historical dimensions of territory. A very thorough examination of the varied understandings of territory in Western thought from ancient Greece through the 17th century, and how they underpinned modern notions of sovereignty, power, and rights.

    Find this resource:

  • Everett, Derek R. Creating the American West: Boundaries and Borderlands. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A sweeping account of the process of border demarcation among the American states west of the Mississippi River. Everett begins with the processes of territorial acquisition, most notably the Louisiana Purchase, and follows through to interstate border squabbles. In contrast to much of the eastern United States, where borders often followed natural features such as rivers, the borders of western states more commonly follow lines of latitude or longitude.

    Find this resource:

  • Maier, Charles S. Once within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2016.

    DOI: 10.4159/9780674973909Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This historical overview traces the evolution of borders as the primary means of defining the limits of jurisdiction, governance, and sovereignty over the last five centuries. Maier emphasizes the importance of new technologies, from the railroad to modern communications, in allowing the ruling classes to more effectively claim and control larger territories. This evolution facilitated the development of new notions of sovereignty and belonging that continue to frame politics, economics, and social relations.

    Find this resource:

  • Mostern, Ruth. “Dividing the Realm in Order to Govern”: The Spatial Organization of the Song State (960–1276 CE). Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph 73. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011.

    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt1dnn9w0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Groundbreaking work. Scholars commonly associate centralized political authority with strength and vigor and, conversely, decentralization with weakness and atrophy. Mostern complicates this dichotomy by examining how the Song dynasty fluctuated between centralized and decentralized strategies for structuring its internal administration and exercising territorial control. Also noteworthy in emphasizing jurisdictional borders as interactive with changing political and socioeconomic contexts.

    Find this resource:

  • Readman, Paul, Cynthia Radding, and Chad Bryant, eds. Borderlands in World History, 1700–1914. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A rather sweeping collection of essays with broad geographical coverage, examining the varied processes involved in transforming ill-defined borderlands into clearly delineated borders. Good for those seeking a variety of case studies for comparative perspectives.

    Find this resource:

  • Scott, James C. Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. Yale Agrarian Studies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2017.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A provocative book exploring the implications of transitioning from hunting and gathering to agriculture, permanent settlements, and eventually civilization as the first states formed. The book does not deal directly with borders, but early state formation would have broad implications for engagement with territory, borders, and social relations.

    Find this resource:

  • Van Wolputte, Steven, ed. Borderlands and Frontiers in Africa. Afrikanische Studien 40. Zürich, Switzerland: Lit, 2013.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume’s main contribution is offering a range of case studies of the impact that borders have on daily life across Africa, a region that has received relatively little attention in border studies. The chapters are varied, with some focusing on political borders between countries while others investigate boundaries of identity and belonging.

    Find this resource:

  • Williams, Derek. The Reach of Rome: A History of the Roman Imperial Frontier, 1st–5th Centuries AD. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Williams surveys the vast array of structures, motivations, and practices that constituted the Roman Empire’s expansive bordering systems, stretching from the Euphrates and the Sahara to the Rhine and northern Britain. The book is roughly chronological but also maps out the surviving remnants of Rome’s imperial borders. Including both Roman and non-Roman perspectives of the frontiers, it is well suited for those seeking a broad, easy-reading overview.

    Find this resource:

Territoriality, Globalization, and the Nation-State

One major reason why borders remain such prominent features is that they define, practically and symbolically, territories of different sovereignties, polities, and identities. Sassen 2006 and Spruyt 1996 offer theoretical explanations for the eventual triumph of Western notions of sovereignty, territory, and borders. Mezzadra and Neilson 2013 and Nail 2016 emphasize the proliferation of borders in spite of or even because of globalization. Hubbard 2009 and John 2011 examine the role of cartography and mapping on state formation and identity in North America, while Strandsbjerg 2010 and Branch 2014 focus on Europe. Brandell 2006 and Chester 2009 illustrate all too tragically how processes of border demarcation and nation-state building can fuel violence in the Middle East and South Asia, respectively.

  • Branch, Jordan. The Cartographic State: Maps, Territory and the Origins of Sovereignty. Cambridge Studies in International Relations 127. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Nice work emphasizing the role of modern cartographic practices in fostering notions of territorial sovereignty demarcated by clear, linear borders. Like most other scholars, Branch located the origins of the modern state system in a confluence of political, cartographic, and technological innovations in early modern Europe. The book is written from a political science perspective that emphasizes the role of governments and focuses somewhat less on the processes of translating maps of borders in practices of bordering.

    Find this resource:

  • Brandell, Inga, ed. State Frontiers: Borders and Boundaries in the Middle East. London: I. B. Tauris, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A bit outdated now, given the rapid pace of events across the Middle East, but nonetheless it provides some compelling background for a region in transition. The collection’s main contribution is to position the region within a context of continual adjustment, accommodation, and upheaval since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Good starting point for discussion on events since its publication.

    Find this resource:

  • Chester, Lucy P. Borders and Conflict in South Asia: The Radcliffe Boundary Commission and the Partition of Punjab. Studies in Imperialism. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    For millions of people, the partition of colonial British India into the independent countries of India and Pakistan triggered violent upheavals, forced migrations, and sectarian-religious bloodshed. Chester’s work is the first to focus on the process that led to the partition of the bitterly contested region of Punjab. The book is especially noteworthy for highlighting how the ensuing tragedy had less to do with the actual course of the border than the struggle between competing groups to protect their interests.

    Find this resource:

  • Hubbard, Bill Jr. American Boundaries: The Nation, the States, the Rectangular Survey. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226355931.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A chronological recounting of the mapping and division of the United States and its states. The book illustrates how rather-haphazard colonial land tenure gradually evolved into the systematic division of western territories in rectangular parcels to facilitate settlement and eventually statehood.

    Find this resource:

  • Mezzadra, Sandro, and Brett Neilson. Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822377542Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Mezzadra and Neilson argue that globalization is actually causing a transmutation of existing borders and even the proliferation of new borders, instead of fostering a borderless world. Here, borders constitute a method to regular and structured relationships of power, especially between global capital and labor. The perspective is not as innovative as the authors contend but nonetheless is an interesting perspective.

    Find this resource:

  • Nail, Thomas. Theory of the Border. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190618643.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book argues that contemporary advances in mobility and technology are leading to an increase in the number and type of borders. Instead of simple divisions between states, borders are better understood as multifaceted social phenomena produced through movement across space. Introduces the idea of “critical limology” and is better suited for advanced readers.

    Find this resource:

  • Sassen, Saskia. Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This excellent book lays out a broad narrative stretching from the beginnings of state formation in medieval Europe to the renegotiation of state power amid the forces of globalization. Although the focus is not specifically on borders, these shifting trajectories of state sovereignty, territory, and authority have nonetheless manifested in new bordering processes.

    Find this resource:

  • Spruyt, Hendrik. The Sovereign State and Its Competitors: An Analysis of Systems Change. Princeton Studies in International History and Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study explores the contingencies involved in the emergence of the early-21st-century state system based on territorial sovereignty. It discusses the various territorial strategies that coexisted in medieval Europe and why the territorial state model eventually replaced its rivals. This is a great book for those who want some broad historical background but wish to avoid getting bogged down with the details.

    Find this resource:

  • St. John, Rachel. Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border. America in the World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1515/9781400838639Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book offers solid historical background on the evolution of the border between the United States and Mexico from 1848 to the early 20th century. Government officials on both sides of the border interacted with varied and often-competing private-sector interests, resulting in the increasing institutionalization and regulation of the border, which generally remained open to movements believed to foster capitalist development and more restrictive to other forms of cross-border movement.

    Find this resource:

  • Strandsbjerg, Jeppe. Territory, Globalization and International Relations: The Cartographic Reality of Space. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230304130Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides some important background on the formation of the modern state system, beginning in early modern Europe. It emphasizes the importance of cartography in linking ideas of state formation and territorial sovereignty. The historical details are interesting, but the book’s broadest appeal is in charting the emergence and persistence of key assumptions and practices in international relations.

    Find this resource:

Security, Conflict, and Crime

The association of borders with potential threats to state security and domestic order is common among policymakers and the general public. Several of the entries in this section deal with borders as sources for interstate conflict. Kahler and Walter 2006 explores the apparent contradictions of continuing territorial conflict despite increased global interaction and exchange. Salehyan 2009 shifts the spotlight to emphasize how the majority of “civil” wars and conflicts have international dimensions. Fichtelberg 2008 makes similar points concerning criminal enterprises. In both cases, rebels and criminals rely on cross-border movements to enable their nefarious activities. Many governments have responded to these challenges by erecting new border walls, increasing border surveillance, or implementing more-extensive documentation requirements. This is most obvious in the so-called War on Terror. Elden 2009 explores how governments, especially that of the United States, have responded to threats to their territorial sovereignty by undermining the sovereignty of states thought to offer sanctuary for terrorist groups. Brunet-Jailly 2007 and Jones 2012 provide comparative examinations of security measures implemented by democratic governments, and Chaichian 2013 draws attention to cases of wall building from Antiquity to the early 21st century. Both Guo 2012 and Tir 2006 analyze the potential for changing borders as a strategy for conflict avoidance and resolution.

  • Brunet-Jailly, Emmanuel, ed. Borderlands: Comparing Border Security in North America and Europe. Ottawa, ON: University of Ottawa Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This collection focuses on the new border policies enacted in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The overall thrust is to highlight the near impossibility of creating nonporous borders and instead to emphasize increased intergovernmental cooperation and awareness of local agency as the best means for improving border security while still allowing mutually beneficial exchange.

    Find this resource:

  • Chaichian, Mohammad A. Empires and Walls: Globalization, Migration, and Colonial Domination. Studies in Critical Social Sciences 62. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1163/9789004260665Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book offers a wide-ranging exposition on instances of imperialism, security, and wall building, spanning the original construction of Hadrian’s Wall by the Romans to Israel’s campaign since the late 20th century to wall off Israel and Jewish settlements in the West Bank from Palestinian communities. A good read for students and scholars already familiar with border studies literature.

    Find this resource:

  • Elden, Stuart. Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This wide-ranging work deconstructs the contradictions inherent in the global war on terror, specifically the tendency of states to respond to violations of their territorial sovereignty by violating the sovereignty of other states. Ironically, the actions of both sides in the War on Terror serve as further challenges to the fundamental assumptions of the territorial sovereignty and international borders.

    Find this resource:

  • Fichtelberg, Aaron. Crime without Borders: An Introduction to International Criminal Justice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book discusses the growing challenges facing governments, law enforcement, and law-abiding citizens in a world where a range of criminal activities, from cybertheft to terrorism, increasingly assume global dimensions. Yet law enforcement has remained largely a state-based responsibility. This dichotomy raises numerous practical and philosophical questions that early-21st-century criminal justice practices are ill suited to handle.

    Find this resource:

  • Guo, Rongxing. Territorial Disputes and Conflict Management: The Art of Avoiding War. New York: Routledge, 2012.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    As the title suggests, this book focuses on strategies and techniques for resolving border disputes through negotiation. It is fairly straightforward in its presentation and is a good introduction to current conflict resolution practices and their limitations.

    Find this resource:

  • Jones, Reece. Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States, India and Israel. New York: Zed, 2012.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This timely book offers a comparative perspective on the dynamics fueling the construction of border walls in three democracies. By focusing on arguably the three most prominent and controversial examples, this book affords a detailed and nuanced examination of the underlying motivations and assumptions. It is very readable and offers a good mix of theory and empirical evidence.

    Find this resource:

  • Kahler, Miles, and Barbara Walter, eds. Territoriality and Conflict in an Era of Globalization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511491450Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This wide-ranging volume examines the persistence of territoriality and territorial conflict despite the widespread attention afforded to globalization and the borderless-world thesis. Instead of globalization diminishing territoriality and borders, these contributions highlight how conflict is evolving and assuming new forms and dynamics. It provides a nice mix of more-theoretical perspectives and empirical studies.

    Find this resource:

  • Salehyan, Idean. Rebels without Borders: Transnational Insurgencies in World Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.7591/9780801459214Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    War is commonly understood as a military contest between two sovereign states, but most conflicts since 1945 are better described as civil wars or insurgencies. This book highlights how even these supposedly domestic conflicts have extensive international aspects, including cross-border financial, recruiting, and training networks, as well as direct and indirect support from other sovereign states.

    Find this resource:

  • Tir, Jaroslav. Redrawing the Map to Promote Peace: Territorial Dispute Management via Territorial Changes. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Since territorial sovereignty is a bedrock principle of the modern state system, international law nearly always supports the territorial status quo and resists discussion of border revisions. This book challenges these assumptions and conventions by exploring the possibility of border revisions to facilitate conflict resolution. The appendixes include lists of all border changes during the 20th century.

    Find this resource:

Citizenship, Migration, and Mobility

Borders define not only the sovereign territories of different states and governments, but also individual citizenship and opportunities for migration and mobility. Robertson 2010 and Torpey 1999 are good starting points for understanding the emergence of territorially based citizenship and the evolution of travel documents. Rajaram and Grundy-Warr 2007 explores how migration enforcement practices extend far beyond the checkpoints and walls along the actual border, and Vigneswaran 2013 portrays modern border enforcement policies as increasingly ineffectual and even counterproductive. Jones 2016 highlights the tragic consequences of greater border security measures introduced to stem unwanted immigration, especially by the poor. Pécoud and Guchteneire 2009 explores the possibility of open border policies to address the ethical dilemmas associated with migration. In contrast, Ong 2006 highlights trends toward institutionalizing variable categories of citizenship and sovereignty. Ganster and Lorey 2008 provides a useful starting point for background on the US-Mexico border, while Falola and Usman 2009 does the same for Africa. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, et al. 2014 is a handy and comprehensive introduction to the issue of forced migration in global perspective.

  • Falola, Toyin, and Aribidesi Usman, eds. Movements, Borders, and Identities in Africa. Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora 40. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The edited volume offers a wide variety of compelling case studies examining the interactions between migration flows and identity across Africa. Most cases involve West or East Africa. A good starting point for those seeking a general introduction to these issues in Africa.

    Find this resource:

  • Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Elena, Gil Loescher, Katy Long, and Nando Sigona, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An excellent reference for this field. It provides an overview of forced migration, including the main theoretical approaches, causes, consequences, status in international law, and possible policies to address the problem. The final chapters review the current state of forced migration around the world by region.

    Find this resource:

  • Ganster, Paul, and David E. Lorey. The U.S.-Mexican Border into the Twenty-First Century. 2d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    So much has been written about the US-Mexico border, likely the most studied border in the world, that it can be overwhelming at first. Given that, this book is a great place to start. It offers a straightforward history of the border from its initial demarcation through the first few years of the 21st century. It is especially noteworthy for its emphasis on the ebb and flow of cross-border economic and social interaction.

    Find this resource:

  • Jones, Reece. Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move. London: Verso, 2016.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The idea of globalization receives great media attention, but this book highlights how movement is still highly restrictive for many poor people. Many states have responded to the prospect of large and unregulated flows of poor migrants and refugees with substantial investments in border control mechanisms. Many people are subsequently trapped in poverty on the basis of their place of birth, while others risk exploitation and death as they cross borders in search of better lives.

    Find this resource:

  • Ong, Aihwa. Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822387879Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although the competitive pressures of globalization are generally supposed to erase borders, this work explores how a number of states along the Asian Pacific Rim have responded by creating new types of internal boundaries, such as free-trade zones, or creating new classes of citizenship that are based on education and skill. This shows how states are not merely passive or reactionary forces amid globalization but actively trying to shape its contours.

    Find this resource:

  • Pécoud, Antoine, and Paul de Guchteneire, eds. Migration without Borders: An Investigation into the Free Movement of People. New York: Berghahn, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This collection of essays explores the possibilities and prospects of open border policies. It is part of a broader movement arguing that mobility within a state and the freedom to migrate to another state are basic human rights that trump state concerns over territorial sovereignty.

    Find this resource:

  • Rajaram, Prem Kumar, and Carl Grundy-Warr, eds. Borderscapes: Hidden Geographies and Politics at Territory’s Edge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Research on migration has generally focused on the actual border, with its checkpoints, patrols, and physical barriers, as the main location and instrument of migration control and mobility regulation. This collection of essays broadens this commonsensical understanding by highlighting how detention facilities, refugee camps, and documentation checks serve to extend migration policing far beyond the actual border.

    Find this resource:

  • Robertson, Craig. The Passport in America: The History of a Document. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The book’s title pretty much captures the basic content. It is largely descriptive in content but nonetheless provides valuable background reading for those interested in issues related to migration, citizenship, and international travel. It is especially valuable in highlighting how passports and other travel documents not only facilitate movements through border checkpoints but are also fundamental tools in identity formation and social inclusion/exclusion.

    Find this resource:

  • Torpey, John. The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship and the State. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511520990Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This covers much of the same general ground as Robertson 2010, but whereas Robertson is focused on the United States, Torpey broadens the discussion to include Europe as well. One of the book’s main contributions is highlighting how seemingly simple everyday items, such as passports and identity documents, serve to operationalize and legitimize notions of state sovereignty and territorial citizenship. Reprinted as recently as 2010.

    Find this resource:

  • Vigneswaran, Darshan. Territory, Migration and the Evolution of the International System. Palgrave Studies in International Relations. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230391291Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This work argues that modern patterns of migration have largely rendered conventional border-policing efforts and notions of sovereignty obsolete. Vigneswaran examines how migration policies evolved alongside the emergence of the modern state system. The former preponderance of less territorial and more-flexible notions of citizenship suggests that rigid bordering efforts are likely to be unsuccessful and possibly counterproductive.

    Find this resource:

Technology, Networks, and Flows

The rapid advances in communication and information technologies are often interpreted as harbingers of a borderless world. In contrast, the works in this section provide more-nuanced perspectives on the impact of global financial flows, new telecommunication technologies, and international nongovernmental organizations on borders and cross-border interaction. Goldsmith and Wu 2006 demonstrates the pervasive role of governments in regulating the Internet. Deshpande 2010 highlights how borders can influence global finance and trigger state-level economic crises. Despite its claim to operate beyond borders, Bortolotti 2004 indirectly demonstrates the impact of borders on the activities of one of the world’s highest-profile nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). A similar story emerges from Garwood 2011, an examination of transnational NGOs focused on labor issues. Bob 2005 explores how local protest movements and rebellions seek international support through global media coverage. Castells 2000 popularized the notion of spaces of flows structuring a network model of modern societies. Easley and Kleinberg 2010 develops and adapts the idea of network analysis for classroom use. Finally, Warf 2013 demonstrates how borders continue to create spatial variations even in apparently nonterritorial things such as the Internet.

  • Bob, Clifford. The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511756245Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Through comparative examinations of revolts in Mexico and Nigeria, this study shows how supposedly domestic rebellions actively seek international media coverage as part of competitive strategies to solicit international moral and material support. A nice study showing the cross-border interactions among local social movements, global media, and international NGOs.

    Find this resource:

  • Bortolotti, Dan. Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors without Borders. Richmond Hill, ON: Firefly, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines the experiences of those volunteering with Doctors without Borders. These stories demonstrate the important role that borders play in influencing the NGO’s actions, especially in limiting access and mobility in conflict zones.

    Find this resource:

  • Castells, Manuel. The Rise of the Network Society. 2d ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This influential book argues that advances in information technologies are creating a world organized around networks and spaces of flows, instead of national societies and territorial states. It does not engage the issue of borders directly but is widely discussed in border research.

    Find this resource:

  • Deshpande, Ashwini, ed. Capital without Borders: Challenges to Development. New York: Anthem, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Viewing the issue from the perspective of developing countries, this edited volume highlights the negative consequences of unimpeded flows of global finance. The individual chapters generally endorse greater state regulation and supervision of foreign investment.

    Find this resource:

  • Easley, David, and Jon Kleinberg. Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning about a Highly Connected World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511761942Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An insightful account examining the implications of new technologies for communication, finance, and business management. It is a worthwhile read beyond its intended use as a classroom text.

    Find this resource:

  • Garwood, Shae. Advocacy across Borders: NGOs, Anti-sweatshop Activism and the Global Garment Industry. Sterling, VA: Kumarian, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Awareness of widespread labor abuses accompanying the expansion of textile manufacturing to developing countries has spawned numerous cross-border NGOs advocating for improved working conditions and worker rights. Despite its hopeful tone, this book makes clear how borders and state sovereignty remain significant factors.

    Find this resource:

  • Goldsmith, Jack L., and Tim Wu. Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book refutes the borderless-world thesis by taking what is commonly regarded as its strongest supporting evidence, the seemingly nonterritorial nature of the Internet, and exposing how governments and notions of sovereignty play central roles shaping online interaction. This is a very readable account.

    Find this resource:

  • Warf, Barney. Global Geographies of the Internet. SpringerBriefs in Geography. New York: Springer, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1245-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Warf demonstrates that even the quintessentially placeless Internet relies on actual locations to function. Many other basic aspects of the Internet, such as levels of access, censorship, and e-commerce, also exhibit striking spatial variations.

    Find this resource:

Maritime Borders

Maritime borders have traditionally been something of an afterthought in border studies, although there are clear signs that this is changing. New extractive technologies and the possibility of changing sea levels and pack ice cover have fueled growing competition among states and companies to assert maritime sovereignty, and by extension to control undersea resources. Hong and Van Dyke 2009 currently offers the best overview of early-21st-century disputes concerning maritime borders. Blake 2002 and Prescott and Schofield 2005 are good sources of reference information. Emmers 2010 and Koo 2009 focus their attention on East Asia, undoubtedly home to the most-volatile maritime disputes. Finally, Morieux 2016 illustrates the potential of historical perspectives to complicate notions of maritime zones as natural borders.

  • Blake, Gerald Henry. Maritime Boundaries. World Boundaries 5. New York: Routledge, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a good reference covering some basic background on the historical evolution of maritime borders, conventions for border demarcation, and developments in international law. Somewhat dated now but still worth skimming by those interested in the topic.

    Find this resource:

  • Emmers, Ralf. Geopolitics and Maritime Territorial Disputes in East Asia. New York: Routledge, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a useful overview of maritime disputes in this region. The approach is relatively traditional in its emphasis on government policy, diplomacy, and international law. It is largely descriptive and easy to read.

    Find this resource:

  • Hong, Seoung-Yong, and Jon M. Van Dyke, eds. Maritime Boundary Disputes, Settlement Processes, and the Law of the Sea. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contributions to this edited volume focus on the technical and legal aspects of maritime borders. It provides a good mix of chapters on general topics such as the role of islands or the effect of changes in sea levels on maritime borders and specific case studies. This is a readable and a good starting place for those seeking a broad introduction to the topic.

    Find this resource:

  • Koo, Min Gyo. Island Disputes and Maritime Regime Building in East Asia: Between a Rock and a Hard Place. New York: Springer, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book focuses on disputes over three island groups and their adjoining waters. Maritime issues have probably received the most attention in East and Southeast Asia, likely reflecting the central role of China in most of the region’s disputes. The book is very readable, but circumstances in the region change so rapidly that it is quickly becoming dated.

    Find this resource:

  • Morieux, Renaud. The Channel: England, France and the Construction of a Maritime Border in the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge Social and Cultural Histories 23. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139600385Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book is similar to Sahlins 1991 (cited under Classic Works) but focuses on the English Channel as a maritime border instead of the Pyrenees. As a maritime border, the channel appears to offer a clear zone of demarcation but in actuality provided a space of interaction, exchange, and transgression at multiple scales and by multiple actors. The book highlights the importance of historical context and everyday practice to understanding maritime borders, in addition to government pronouncements and legal conventions.

    Find this resource:

  • Prescott, J. R. V., and Clive H. Schofield. The Maritime Political Boundaries of the World. 2d ed. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is an excellent reference that covers the basic terminology, principles, and conventions for determining and marking maritime borders, as well as dispute resolution. This general background is followed by straightforward descriptions of the world’s maritime borders. A great source for general information and background.

    Find this resource:

Borderless World

The end of the Cold War, the growing prominence of multinational corporations, and the potential of new information technologies, especially the Internet, helped fuel speculation during the 1990s that the modern state system was on the verge of a fundamental transformation. A mainstay of these works is that international borders, and by extension the governments they bound, are rapidly losing their relevance. O’Brien 1992 and Ohmae 1995 were the most-prominent proponents of this position. Their accounts are easy reads but lack supporting evidence. Cairncross 1997 follows this same basic argument, emphasizing that distance is no longer a barrier to economic interaction. Friedman 2005 later revived these same general arguments to great popular effect, but social scientists have largely refuted the simplistic notion of a straightforward transition from a bordered to a borderless world. Brown 2010 is similar but draws more from psychological reflections than empirical observations. Goldsmith and Wu 2006 refutes these predictions by showing the pervasive role of governments in regulating the Internet. Reveron and Mahoney-Norris 2011 focuses on state responses to nonstate actors and threats. Scott 2009 and Oba 2013 explore intriguing cases where groups have utilized strategies of mobility to resist the imposition of territorially based notions of citizenship and sovereignty. Reid 2011 offers a similar story but brings the modern consequences into sharper focus for the Horn of Africa.

  • Brown, Wendy. Walled States, Waning Sovereignty. New York: Zone, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book interprets efforts since the end of the 20th century to build or strengthen border walls as a reaction to eroding state sovereignty. The main focus is on Israel and the United States. It is more an essay reflecting on the psychology behind current events, rather than a detailed case study or theoretical treatise.

    Find this resource:

  • Cairncross, Frances. The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution Will Change Our Lives. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book focuses on the impact of new telecommunication technologies. It argues that distance is increasingly irrelevant as a barrier to economic interaction between different world regions.

    Find this resource:

  • Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is the most widely read of the books advancing the general borderless-world thesis. It is generally dismissed as simplistic and determinist by most scholars, although the idea remains popular among some in the information technology, finance, and business sectors, as well as among portions of the general public.

    Find this resource:

  • Goldsmith, Jack L., and Tim Wu. Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book refutes the borderless-world thesis by taking what is commonly regarded as its strongest supporting evidence, the seemingly nonterritorial nature of the Internet, and exposing how governments and notions of sovereignty play central roles shaping online interaction. This is a very readable account.

    Find this resource:

  • Oba, Gufu. Nomads in the Shadows of Empires: Contests, Conflicts and Legacies on the Southern Ethiopian–Northern Kenyan Frontier. African Social Studies. Boston: Brill, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1163/9789004255227Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The imposition of colonial borders and European notions of territorial sovereignty were especially problematic in areas where indigenous peoples practiced pastoralism and other forms of nomadism. A highly empirical case study.

    Find this resource:

  • O’Brien, Richard. Global Financial Integration: The End of Geography. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Like the other works in this genre, this book argues that the growing importance of global finance and trade is eroding the differences between places and the importance of distance.

    Find this resource:

  • Ohmae, Kenichi. The End of the Nation State: The Rise of Regional Economies. New York: Free Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A follow-up to Ohmae 1990 (cited under Classic Works), this book advances the same basic thesis concerning the diminished importance of borders in the global economy but also extends the argument to emphasize the increasing powerlessness of territorially based governments.

    Find this resource:

  • Reid, Richard J. Frontiers of Violence in North-East Africa: Genealogies of Conflict since c. 1800. Zones of Violence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211883.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    These borderlands of the Horn of Africa perhaps come closest to realizing the idea of a borderless world, although they are unfortunately marked by recurring ethnic tensions, displacement, and armed conflict. This book traces the region’s borders from the tumult accompanying the partial imposition of European colonial rule to independence. The creation of South Sudan in 2011 dates the book a bit but also supports its overall narrative.

    Find this resource:

  • Reveron, Derek S., and Kathleen A. Mahoney-Norris. Human Security in a Borderless World. Philadelphia: Westview, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors emphasize how security concerns are increasingly focused on nonstate actors, such as traffickers and cybercriminals, or diffuse threats, such as climate change and pandemics. Despite the title, the book actually focuses on the implications for government policy and indirectly acknowledges the continued importance of border management and practice in security discussions.

    Find this resource:

  • Scott, James C. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. Yale Agrarian Studies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This fascinating account highlights how the expansion of the modern state system was resisted and in some cases circumvented. These instances challenge common assumptions of citizenship and belonging based on bounded territories.

    Find this resource:

back to top

Article

Up

Down