Chapter 2: Borders and boundaries
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Political borders - with their checkpoints, customs, uniforms, and documents - are the most visible forms of boundaries regulating spatial mobility. Legal boundaries, establishing legitimate membership (with the accompanying rights) are no less important. Even with ‘papers’ in order, even when ‘naturalized’, migrants encounter many other forms of closed membership. Inclusion must be negotiated, not always successfully. In all spheres of life, migration means encountering the strict boundaries separating those who have the tacit knowledge that entitles them to insider status and those who can be considered, at best, tolerated novices. Any migration system is rooted in some form of boundary crossing. The chapter reviews the similarities-and differences-between state borders, legal categories, and the wide variety of social and symbolic boundaries, arguing that some of the most compelling phenomena in migration research are precisely those energized by the lack of alignment among political borders, symbolic categories, and social clusters.

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