Edited by Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen
Chapter 20: The political anthropology of borders and territory: European perspectives
This chapter outlines some main themes and perspectives that in recent decades have emerged from the anthropological scholarship on borders, boundaries and territory. They argue that borders not only frame and contain the territorial integrity of states, but also that the cultural and historical formation and shaping of borders is essential to understand how states think, behave and act. In line with the still growing ethnographic record of populations inhabiting border areas, they stress the agency of border dwellers in their negotiation of power and identity. The chapter is framed by a contextual discussion of the demise of political borders that seemingly followed the end of the Cold war and the current trend in an opposite direction, where new walls, barriers and fences are being built while old ones are being renovated and policed.
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