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Joint CIBR publications

Thomas M. Wilson and Hastings Donnan (eds)

A Companion to Border Studies

Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

"This urgently needed Companion, edited by two leading figures of border studies, reflects past insights and showcases new directions: a must read for understanding territory, power and the state."— Nick Vaughan-Williams, University of Warwick

"This impressive collection will have a broad appeal ... The substantive scope is global and the intellectual reach deep and wide. Simply indispensable."— Richard Jenkins, University of Sheffield

Scholarly attention to political and social borders continues to grow due to new and sustained interest in the social sciences and humanities in theorizing matters related to borders, borderlands, frontiers and boundaries. Once principally the focus of geography, today the study of borders, including their territorial, geophysical, political and cultural dimensions, has become a primary interest across the disciplines, due to changing scholarly approaches to such key research subjects and objects as the state, nation, sovereignty, citizenship, migration, and the over-arching forces and practices of globalization.

This scholarly turn is not simply a reflection of ivory tower musings; they are provoked and challenged by real events that have made borders and borderlands new sites of empirical investigation. Borders and frontiers are also elements in the transforming dimensions of culture, politics, society and economics at every level of social and political complexity, experience and expression across the globe.  Recent events and ongoing dilemmas brought on by 9/11, the war on terror, and the new security, health and economic problems and opportunities of world populations on the move, all indicate that the related notions of borders, boundaries and frontiers will attract more attention in the near future from scholars, policy-makers and other peoples of the world who must negotiate and cross the barriers and bridges that borders offer.

The Companion to Border Studies will be a scholarly handbook that will set the agenda for the future study of these subjects among scholars of geography, history, politics, sociology and anthropology.

Table of Contents:

List of Figures and Table p.viii

Notes on Contributors p.ix

1 Borders and Border Studies p.1
Thomas M. Wilson and Hastings Donnan

Part I Sovereignty, Territory and Governance p.27

2 Partition p.29
Brendan O'Leary

3 Culture Theory and the US–Mexico Border p.48
Josiah McC. Heyman

4 The African Union Border Programme in European Comparative Perspective p.66
Anthony I. Asiwaju

5 European Politics of Borders, Border Symbolism and Cross-Border Cooperation p.83
James Wesley Scott

6 Securing Borders in Europe and North America p.100
Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly

7 Border Regimes, the Circulation of Violence and the Neo-authoritarian Turn p.119
John Borneman

Part II States, Nations and Empires p.137

8 Borders in the New Imperialism p.139
James Anderson

9 Contested States, Frontiers and Cities p.158
Liam O'Dowd

10 The State, Hegemony and the Historical British-US Border p.177
Allan K. McDougall and Lisa Philips

11 Nations, Nationalism and "Borderization" in the Southern Cone p.194
Alejandro Grimson

12 Debordering and Rebordering the United Kingdom p.214
Cathal McCall

13 "Swarming" at the Frontiers of France, 1870–1885 p.230
Olivier Thomas Kramsch

14 Borders and Conflict Resolution p.249
David Newman

Part III Security, Order and Disorder p.267

15 Chaos and Order along the (Former) Iron Curtain p.269
Mathijs Pelkmans

16 Border Security as Late-Capitalist "Fix" p.283
Brenda Chalfin

17 Identity, the State and Borderline Disorder p.301
Dan Rabinowitz

18 African Boundaries and the New Capitalist Frontier p.318
Timothy Raeymaekers

19 Bandits, Borderlands and Opium Wars in Afghanistan p.332
Jonathan Goodhand

20 Biosecurity, Quarantine and Life across the Border p.354
Alan Smart and Josephine Smart

21 Permeabilities, Ecology and Geopolitical Boundaries p.371
Hilary Cunningham

Part IV Displacement, Emplacement and Mobility p.387

22 Borders and the Rhythms of Displacement, Emplacement and Mobility p.389
Pamela Ballinger

23 Remapping Borders p.405
Henk van Houtum

24 From Border Policing to Internal Immigration Control in the United States p.419
Mathew Coleman

25 Labor Migration, Traffi cking and Border Controls p.438
Michele Ford and Lenore Lyons

26 Spatial Strategies for Rebordering Human Migration at Sea p.455
Alison Mountz and Nancy Hiemstra

27 "B/ordering" and Biopolitics in Central Asia p.473
Nick Megoran

28 Border, Scene and Obscene p.492
Nicholas De Genova

Part V Space, Performance and Practice p.505

29 Border Show Business and Performing States p.507
David B. Coplan

30 Performativity and the Eventfulness of Bordering Practices p.522
Robert J. Kaiser

31 Reconceptualizing the Space of the Mexico–US Borderline p.538
Robert R. Alvarez, Jr

32 Border Towns and Cities in Comparative Perspective p.557
Paul Nugent

33 A Sense of Border p.573
Sarah Green


Other Publications 

Culture & Power

Hastings Donnan and Thomas M. Wilson (Eds) 

Culture and Power at the Edges of the State: National support and subversion in European border regions 

Frankfurt: Lit Verlag, 2006.

State borders are somewhere the state is keen to stress its presence and yet are simultaneously places where that presence is challenged. They are sites of resistance to the state, and at the same time places where the national interest is vigorously maintained. This constant ambiguity generates questions about the dynamics of borderland-state relations, and about how what happens along the border can undermine state policies. Using case studies of nation and state relations in borderlands in Europe this book seeks to understand how structures of power are created, experienced, changed and reproduced.

New Borders

Liam O'Dowd, James Anderson and Thomas M. Wilson (Eds)

New Borders for a Changing Europe: Cross-border co-operation and governance

London: Routledge, 2003.

Borders increasingly capture the attention of policy-makers and scholars across Europe. The "deepening and widening" of the European Union, the spread of Euroregions, and the creation of new states in eastern Europe since the early 1990s have thrown the changing internal and external borders of the EU into sharp relief. Globalization has brought more widespread and fundamental changes, with increased cross-border flows of goods, capital, information and people.Increased border crossings have in turn provoked defensive, border-asserting reactions. The result has been greater variation in the permeability of state borders, and more differentiation between borders. Thus borders remain critical both in statecraft and in the construction of national myths and identities. Their significance and meanings are increasingly varied, disputed and contradictory.The authors present a combination of analytical chapters and case studies ranging from the English Channel to the Baltic, drawn from expertise in the fields of anthropology, communications, economics, geography, law, planning, policing, political science and sociology.This volume demonstrates that borders and borderlands are key spaces within which issues of identity, memory and trust, economic integration, governance and communication between states continue to be played out and transformed.


Hastings Donnan  and Tom Wilson

Borders: Frontiers of Identity, Nation and State.

Oxford: Berg, 1999.

Borders are where wars start, as Primo Levi once wrote. But they are also bridges - that is, sites for ongoing cultural exchange. Anyone studying how nations and states maintain distinct identities while adapting to new ideas and experiences knows that borders provide particularly revealing windows for the analysis of 'self' and 'other'. In representing invisible demarcations between nations and peoples who may have much or very little in common, borders exert a powerful influence and define how people think as well as what they do. Without borders, whether physical or symbolic, nationalism could not exist, nor could borders exist without nationalism. Surprisingly, there have been very few systematic or concerted efforts to review the experiences of nation and state at the local level of borders. Drawing on examples from the US and Mexico, Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, Spain and Morocco, as well as various parts of Southeast Asia and Africa, this timely book offers a comparative perspective on culture at state boundaries. The authors examine the role of the state, ethnicity, transnationalism, border symbols, rituals and identity in an effort to understand how nationalism informs attitudes and behaviour at local, national and international levels. Soldiers, customs agents, smugglers, tourists, athletes, shoppers, and prostitutes all provide telling insights into the power relations of everyday life and what these relations say about borders.

Border Identities

Tom Wilson and Hastings Donnan (Eds)

Border Identities: Nation and State at International Frontiers

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

This book offers fresh insights into the complex and various ways in which international frontiers influence cultural identities. The ten anthropological case studies collected here describe specific international borders in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, and bring out the importance of boundary politics, and the diverse forms that it may take. The frontier itself may be of great symbolic importance; in other cases the symbolism lies rather in the disappearance of the traditional border. A frontier may be above all a barrier against immigration, or the front line between hostile armies. It may reinforce distinctive identities on each side of it, or the frontier may be disputed because it cuts across national identities. Drawing on anthropological perspectives, the book explores how cultural landscapes intersect with political boundaries, and ways in which state power informs cultural identity.

Journal of Borderlands Studies published by ABS


Liam O'Dowd and Sean L'Estrange (Eds)

Structures and Narratives of Border Change.

Special issue of Journal of Borderlands Studies, vol.23 (1), 2008.

Available at: 

European Studies

James Anderson, Liam O’Dowd and Thomas M. Wilson (Eds)

Culture, Cooperation and Conflict at International Borders in Europe

Special Issue of European Studies: A Journal of European Culture, History and Politics, vol. 19.

Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2003


Hastings Donnan and Tom Wilson (Eds)

European States at Their Borderlands

Special Issue of Focaal: European Journal of Anthropology, vol. 41 (3), 2003


Anderson, J., O’Dowd, L. and Wilson, T. M. (Eds)

Cross-Border Co-Operation

Special Issue of Administration, Journal of the Institute of Public Adminstration, vol. 49 (2), 2001.

Regional Studies

James Anderson and Liam O'Dowd (Eds)

State Borders and Border Regions

Special Issue of Regional Studies, vol. 33 (7), 1999.