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The Role of Borders as Sites and Progenitors of Conflict: A Critical Analysis

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The growth of transnationalism through the technological advances offered by modernity have forced a reconsideration of the way that we think about borders in the analysis of conflict. This essay examines the issue from two sides, that of borders as the site of conflict, and also as the progenitor or enabling factor. The way in which borders no longer necessarily operate as the site of conflict, and, in the conclusion, sites of cooperation, is examined, demonstrating the growing tendency for events to take place with great distance between actors and in non-contiguous zones. For borders to operate as the progenitors of conflict, it is necessary for them either to act as a necessary or sufficient cause. It is asserted that borders are necessary in order to signify the division of identity that conflict requires, but that their existence does not preclude cooperation. The methods through which borders are constructed are examined through the use of the Copenhagen School’s method of securitisation analysis, which provides the assertion that conflict is the result of the violating of practices of intersubjective understanding rather than the existence of borders as such. Ways in which the strength of borders may vary, and their limits are discussed, before asserting their continuing importance, and it is claimed that globalization works toward relocating, without undermining or challenging, the concept of borders.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2010

More about this publication?
  • Global Discourse is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented journal of applied contemporary thought operating at the intersection of politics, international relations, sociology and social policy. The Journal's scope is broad, encouraging interrogation of current affairs with regard to core questions of distributive justice, wellbeing, cultural diversity, autonomy, sovereignty, security and recognition. All issues are themed and aimed at addressing pressing issues as they emerge. Rejecting the notion that publication is the final stage in the research process, Global Discourse seeks to foster discussion and debate between often artificially isolated disciplines and paradigms, with responses to articles encouraged and conversations continued across issues.

    The Journal features a mix of full-length articles, each accompanied by one or more replies, policy papers commissioned by organizations and institutions and book review symposia, typically consisting of three reviews and a reply by the author(s). With an international advisory editorial board consisting of experienced, highly-cited academics, Global Discourse publishes themed issues on topics as they emerge. Authors are encouraged to explore the international dimensions and implications of their work.

    All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and double-blind peer review. All submissions must be in response to a specific call for papers.

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