Rethinking the Study of International Boundaries: A Biography of the Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan Boundary

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Abstract:

Over the past century there have been a number of distinct attempts by geographers to generalize about the nature of international boundaries. The most influential contemporary movement is that which considers them as examples of more general processes of “bordering” or “bounding.” This approach is insightful but not without limitations, and can be advanced through writing what are termed “boundary biographies” that explore how specific boundaries materialize, rematerialize, and dematerialize in different ways, in different contexts, at different scales, and at different times. A biography of the Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan boundary traces its materialization as a result of the 1924 through 1927 process of national territorial delimitation and its multiple and varied re- and dematerializations throughout the Soviet and particularly the post-Soviet periods. This biography illustrates the importance of geography for understanding processes of nation-state formation and political contestation in Central Asia.

Keywords: Kirguistán; Kyrgyzstan; Uzbekistan; Uzbekistán; fronteras internacionales; geografía política; international boundaries; political geography

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2011.595969

Affiliations: School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology,Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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