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Borderscapes: Hidden Geographies and Politics at Territory’s Edge

Series: Borderlines
Volume: 29
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 376
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Conceptualizing such places as immigration detention camps and refugee camps as areas of political contestation, this work forcefully argues that borders and migration are, ultimately, inextricable from questions of justice and its limits. Contributors: Didier Bigo, Karin Dean, Elspeth Guild, Emma Haddad, Alexander Horstmann, Alice M. Nah, Suvendrini Perera, James D. Sidaway, Nevzat Soguk, Decha Tangseefa, Mika Toyota.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5387-4
    Subjects: Geography

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xl)

    We want to emphasize that the study of borders and migration centers on questions of justice and its limits. The border is not a neutral line of separation; borders between nation-states demarcate belonging and nonbelonging and authorize a distinction between norm and exception. The authority accorded by the territorial border vindicates a curtailed conception of justice, one that is particularly telling in its circular claim to being an exhaustive representation of human need. Justice operates to outline the limits of a spatial utopia, an attempt at a purposive unity enveloped by the nation-state. The territorial border thus functions to distinguish...

  5. PART I Knowledge, Power, Surveillance

    • 1 Detention of Foreigners, States of Exception, and the Social Practices of Control of the Banopticon
      (pp. 3-34)

      The hypothesis underlying this chapter is that the detention of foreigners is related to a specific form of governmentality: the banopticon. The banopticon may be considered adispositif: the detention of foreigners considered “would-becriminals” in camps is, for the present time, the locus that concentrates and articulates heterogeneous lines of power diffracted into society. Beyond the sovereign logic of state territory, beyond the analysis of the “state of exception,” and even beyond the biopolitics of liberalism, the logic is one of “permanent exceptionalism” or of derogation by the government of the basic rule of law in the name of...

    • 2 Struggling with (Il)Legality: The Indeterminate Functioning of Malaysia’s Borders for Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and Stateless Persons
      (pp. 35-64)
      ALICE M. NAH

      For asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless persons in Malaysia, there are no clearly demarcated temporal or spatial limits to Malaysia’s borders. Malaysia, along with their anxiety-filled relationship to it, does not begin and end until the time they permanently leave the country. Their unsettled relationship to the border will dominate and permeate every sphere of life while they remain in Malaysia; for many, it will shape the course of their lives afterward.

      The first encounter that forced migrants have with the Malaysian border is when they make their entry into Malaysian territory. If they pass through successfully, a much longer...

    • 3 The Foreigner in the Security Continuum: Judicial Resistance in the United Kingdom
      (pp. 65-90)

      In examining the development of the practice and theory of surveillance at distance, Didier Bigo finds a transnational field of security where internal and external security become a continuum in which the worlds of the police and military find themselves in competition (Bigo 2005, 129–60). In this chapter, I build on his work in particular as regards the construction of the enemy who is both external and internal at the same time and thus requires the compensating measures of the state in the development of a security continuum. However, I will examine this continuum from the perspective of legal...

    • 4 Ambivalent Categories: Hill Tribes and Illegal Migrants in Thailand
      (pp. 91-116)

      The border is not a neutral line of separation; borders not only demarcate boundaries between nation-states, they also make the distinction between belonging and nonbelonging to the state. Most works onterritorializationlook at the border in relation to international boundaries, but this chapter will focus on the border as an internal phenomenon; in particular, it will focus on the way the border defines belonging from not belonging to the nation-state.

      Legally, the territorial sovereign state regulates persons within its territory through the institution of citizenship. But citizenship is not necessarily available to all, or not necessarily on equal terms....

  6. PART II Borderpanic:: Representing Migrants and Borders

    • 5 Danger Happens at the Border
      (pp. 119-136)

      The border can be understood as a dangerous place. Things that cross the border undermine the border’s authority and have the capacity to “pollute” the inside that the border is trying to protect. To highlight this understanding of pollution, this chapter uses the concept of the refugee as one moving individual who operates at the border. Neither inside nor outside, the refugee moves across borders as an inherently polluting person who defies the order that the border would like to dictate. Europe has become fixated on keeping refugees away from its territorial borders via policies aimed at preventing their arrival....

    • 6 Violence, Subversion, and Creativity in the Thai–Malaysian Borderland
      (pp. 137-158)

      When the military arrived in a village in Narathiwat province in the week ending September 25, 2005, only women and children remained, holding a banner and saying: “You are the terrorist.”

      This courageous act followed a bloody confrontation of the Thai military and the frustrated and angry Malay youth, in which paramilitary forces suddenly appeared at the tea shop in the village to kill some Malay on the blacklist, and in which Malay youth retaliated by taking two soldiers hostage, later to murder them. Anticipating the arrival of the Thai military in force, 131 people escaped across the border to...

  7. PART III Rethinking Borderscapes:: Mapping Hidden Geographies

    • 7 The Poetry of Boundaries
      (pp. 161-182)

      Reflecting life and journeys along the Portuguese–Spanish borderlands, this is a chapter of detours and departures. Rather like the quotes above, it is a collection of fragments of the border—thoughts and reflections on the boundary stones and rivers, the maps and marks that serve and signify this frontier. My aim (t)here is to think around, through, and against borders. Following Barker (1998, 120), therefore: “To think against is to analyze the level of a surface, not to get closer to or further from the truth or objective reality but to reveal other surfaces and points of contact.” The...

    • 8 The Sites of the Sino–Burmese and Thai–Burmese Boundaries: Transpositions between the Conceptual and Life Worlds
      (pp. 183-200)

      The concept of a boundary cutting through naturally connected space has forged the division of world space into fixed, sovereign units—both on the tangible political maps and in the less palpable but pervasive practices of international relations. The borders separating territories and people are subject to complex dynamics stemming from countless and imminently contradicting state, global, and local factors. Thus the spaces at the sites of borders are diverse, multiple, and overlapping at the same time, and may be confusing, chaotic, and contested. Borderland interaction can be alienated, coexistent, interdependent, or integrated, according to Oscar Martinez (1991), and thus...

    • 9 A Pacific Zone? (In)Security, Sovereignty, and Stories of the Pacific Borderscape
      (pp. 201-228)

      First, three boat stories.

      On November 4, 2003, the day of the Melbourne Cup, the most significant sporting event in Australia (“the race that stops a nation”), a fishing boat, theMinasa Bone, landed on Melville Island, about twenty kilometers off the northern capital of Darwin. The Islanders, Indigenous Tiwi people, were surprised to come across obviously foreign men on the beach who asked them, “Is this Australia?” Perhaps the arrivals were confused by the large number of black faces and the general third world look of the place. The Islanders’ answer marked a subtle distinction: You are on Melville...

  8. PART IV Rethinking Borderscapes:: The New Political

    • 10 “Temporary Shelter Areas” and the Paradox of Perceptibility: Imperceptible Naked-Karens in the Thai–Burmese Border Zones
      (pp. 231-262)

      The fate and struggles of forcibly displaced peoples¹ from the Burmese nation-state along Thailand’s “door” can be articulated in the spirit of Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law”:²

      Before the Law stands a doorkeeper. To this doorkeeper there comes a teenage girl from Burma, who prays for admittance to the Law. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot grant admittance at the moment. The girl thinks it over and then asks if she will be allowed in later. “It is possible,” says the doorkeeper, “but not at the moment.” Since the door leading into the Law stands open, as usual, and...

    • 11 Locating Political Space through Time: Asylum and Excision in Australia
      (pp. 263-282)

      On November 4, 2003, the vesselMinasa Bonelanded without authorization on Australia’s Melville Island, some twenty kilometers off Darwin. On board were ten male Kurdish individuals plus four Indonesian crew. The boat had arrived from Indonesia; the passengers on board were Turkish nationals. TheMinasa Boneappeared to be the latest of a series of unauthorized vessels carrying asylum seekers to Australia. In chapter 9 of this volume, Suvendrini Perera has described an Australian Pacific borderscape of moving bodies, bodies written out of the Australian sovereign landscape.

      All unauthorized arrivals in Australia have been subject to mandatory detention while...

    • 12 Border’s Capture: Insurrectional Politics, Border-Crossing Humans, and the New Political
      (pp. 283-308)

      Borders have lives of their own. They move, shift, metamorphose, edge, retract, emerge tall and powerful or retreat into the shadows exhausted, or even grow irrelevant. They are not simply fences, walls, and chains that divide the earth’s surface into sovereign territories, simple in purpose and function as they appear on a world map.

      True, they exist seemingly lifeless in the vast openness of geographical landscape, not shifting, always immobile, always steady in time and place. However, their appearance belies the dynamism that underlies the calm of their surface appearances. Borders can come alive and either make way or make...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 309-314)
  10. Index
    (pp. 315-330)