Border Politics

Border Politics: The Limits of Sovereign Power

Nick Vaughan-Williams
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 208
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1r29sk
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  • Book Info
    Border Politics
    Book Description:

    Presents a distinctive theoretical approach to the problem of borders in the study of International Relations. It turns from the current debate regarding the presence or absence of borders to consider the fundamental change that is occurring in the concept of the border in contemporary political life.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4021-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-13)

    Borders are ubiquitous in political life. Indeed, borders are perhaps even constitutive of political life. Borders are inherent to logics of inside and outside, practices of inclusion and exclusion, and questions about identity and difference. Of course, there are many different types of borders that can be identified: divisions along ethnic, national or racial lines; class-based forms of stratification; regional and geographical differences; religious, cultural, and generational boundaries; and so on. None of these borders is in any sense given but (re)produced through modes of affirmation and contestation and is, above all, lived. In other words borders are not natural,...

  5. Chapter 1 BORDERS ARE NOT WHAT OR WHERE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE: SECURITY, TERRITORY, LAW
    (pp. 14-37)

    Borders between states have affected, and continue to affect, peopleʹs lives in different ways according to their citizenship, economic status, ethnic background and so on. Moreover, the affects of such borders on different people do not remain static but may change according to individual and broader historical and political circumstances. Today, especially in the West, many people seem to experience what might be considered a globalised borderless world whereby entering and exiting a state is a mere formality, and mobility is taken as almost a given. But for others, such as those in South America or Africa, notions of borderlessness...

  6. Chapter 2 THE STUDY OF BORDERS IN GLOBAL POLITICS: FROM GEOPOLITICS TO BIOPOLITICS
    (pp. 38-64)

    Bordering practices that are seemingly at odds with the modern geopolitical imaginary, such as those explored in Chapter 1, demand a stocktake of what critical resources might be available for new ways of thinking about what borders are, where they come from, and what they do in contemporary political life. A first port of call for such an enquiry is the interdisciplinary subfield of border studies, known as ʹlimologyʹ, a tradition of thought encompassing the work of anthropologists, geographers, sociologists, and political scientists.¹ Especially over the past three decades or so, paradoxically at a time when pronouncements of globalised borderlessness...

  7. Chapter 3 VIOLENCE, TERRITORY AND THE BORDERS OF JURIDICAL–POLITICAL ORDER: PROBLEMATISING THE LIMITS OF SOVEREIGN POWER
    (pp. 65-95)

    While some inroads have certainly been made into probing the connections between the concept of the border of the state and questions about violence, sovereignty and power, especially as border studies has shifted in its focus from geopolitics to biopolitics, the richness of bordering practices in contemporary political life stands in contrast to the relative poverty with which borders continue to be conceptualised and theorised. For this reason my analysis of the concept of the border of the state now turns away from the literature in IR and related disciplines to investigate the prospects for gathering critical resources from elsewhere....

  8. Chapter 4 THE GENERALISED BIOPOLITICAL BORDER: SECURITY AS THE NORMAL TECHNIQUE OF GOVERNMENT
    (pp. 96-129)

    In this chapter I will argue that there are potentially useful critical resources for developing alternative border imaginaries to the conventional inside/outside model conditioned by the concept of the border of the state to be found in the work of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. The discussion begins with a detailed exegesis of some of Agambenʹs key arguments, building on the thought of Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault and Carl Schmitt discussed in Chapter 3, as articulated in Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life [1998], Means Without End: Notes on Politics [2000], State of Exception [2005] and several key essays and...

  9. Chapter 5 ALTERNATIVE BORDER IMAGINARIES: THE POLITICS OF FRAMING
    (pp. 130-162)

    In their reflections on the role of radical theory, Paolo Virno and Michael Hardt call for the ʹproposition of new concepts for political theorising today adequate to our conditionsʹ.¹ Virno and Hardt tie conceptual revision to political change, and this move reorientates the relationship between theory and practice so that the two are not conceived as separate but rather inextricably linked: ʹthe relationship between theory and practice remains an open problematic, a kind of laboratory for testing the effects of new ideas, strategies and organisationsʹ.² The task of inventing new concepts apposite to the study of contemporary global politics not...

  10. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 163-170)

    On the eve of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the worldʹs attention was drawn towards the escalation of conflict in Georgia, where President Mikhail Saakashvili launched an aerial bombardment and ground attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The following day, Friday 8 August, images of the spectacular opening ceremony of the Games were overshadowed by live footage of Georgian troops taking control of Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, together with the mobilisation of Russian armed forces into the region. Seeking to justify bombing raids over South Ossetia and throughout greater Georgia, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke...

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 171-184)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 185-190)