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(B)Ordering and the politics of Belonging

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This article examines the notion of belonging as an analytical perspective to deal with the spatial problems involved in border conflicts. It underlines the usefulness of this concept for the scholarly articulation of more inclusive political spaces that already exist at the societal level. Drawing from empirical data and experiences of people on both sides of the Line of Control (the LoC is a provisional border) in the disputed region of Kashmir (in India and Pakistan), this article explores how issues of belonging unfold within ongoing struggles about placemaking. This relates to the question of inclusion with regard to those that are deemed not to belong. The paper is structured in three parts. The first explores the scope of the concept of belonging in relation to that of identity by underlining the problematic of place and space implied in both. Being in one place (or part of a collective) and "longing" for other place(s) (and collective(s)) is a form of displacement that questions normative understandings of the way the world is divided. The second part discusses this displacement by looking at the relational character of belonging, in respect to the contexts in which the latter is articulated, claiming that belonging is thus tantamount to recognition and becoming visible. Finally, the third part introduces the notion of the politics of belonging in reference to the circumstances under which people and groups distinguish between belonging and non-belonging. Since belonging necessarily embodies a translocal and transnational experience, I claim it generates specific knowledge about the way in which the world is (b)ordered.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2017

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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