Borders: A Very Short Introduction
Alexander C. Diener and Joshua Hagen
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Questions for Thought and Discussion
- 1. Are borders natural phenomena? (i.e. existing in the world outside of human action)
- a. Why do humans create borders?
- b. Is human territoriality an instinct or learned behavior?
- c. Do animals create borders and boundaries? How do they differ from human borders/boundaries?
- 2. What are some of the general ways the modern notions of borders, territoriality, and sovereignty differ from those in ancient history?
- a.What is the difference between Frontiers and Borders?
- b.What were the key factors in the formation of modern notions of borders?Why were these factors important?
- c. Are borders defined by natural features (like rivers or mountain ranges) better than borders defined by lines of latitude/longitude?
- d. What is the ‘territorial trap’?
- 3. What does the concept of sovereignty entail?
- a. Why is sovereignty relevant to the contemporary notion of borders?
- b. How is this changing in the modern world?
- c. How are pre-modern notions of territoriality still evident in the modern world?
- d. What are other modes of enacting social control and influence beyond territoriality and the process of bordering?
- 4. What recent news stories illustrate the continuing importance of borders?
- a. What trends are contributing to the reinforcement or hardening of contemporary borders?
- i. What are examples of increasing border permeability in the world today?
- ii. What/who are the most conspicuous border crossers in the world today?
- iii. What is the most prevalent cross border crime in the world today?
- iv. What are the most prevalent trans-border movements and institutions today?
- v. What were the most prevalent trans-border institutions and movement in history?
- b. Do modern technologies, like the internet, shipping containers, or airplanes, make border more or less important?
- 5. Are borders ethical? If not, why? If so, which borders are most ethical?
- a. Does globalization (in terms of economics, communication, migration, etc) make borders more important or less?
- b. What are the arguments in favor of an ‘open borders’ policies concerning immigration? Do you agree or disagree?
- c. How do borders relate to nationalism?
- d. Is dual citizenship ethical (by virtue of birth and/or ethnicity some people can be citizens of two states while most people are limited to just one)?
- e. What are examples of innovations in border management (e.g. passports, biometrics)?
- 6. Is state sovereignty absolute? Should it be?
- a. How does international law approach the topic of borders?
- b. In the modern world, how can governments, laws, and citizenship be enacted determined without absolute territorial borders?
- c. Do border help or hinder law enforcement, including everyday issues like drugs and theft to more extraordinary matters like genocide and human trafficking?
- 7. In what academic disciplines are border studies most applicable? why?
- a. What are key issues to study at the international scale of borders?
- i. What are the main issues of maritime borders today?
- ii. What are the main issues of airspace borders today?
- iii. How has the world dealt with outer-space and borders?
- iv. What are the main issues of cyber borders today?How do borders affect development?
- v. How do borders affect the environment?
- vi. How do borders affect non-human entities?
- vii. How do borders affect human health?
- viii. How do borders affect international business?
- b. What are key issues to study at the sub-state level of bordering?
- i. What are examples of borders/boundaries in urban geography?
- ii. How do borders affect indigenous peoples?
- iii. Under what circumstances would you like to live in a gated community? An ethnic enclave? A gerrymandered electoral district?
- 8. How have borders affected your life?
Other books by the authors
- Borderlines and Borderlands: Political Oddities at the Edge of the Nation-State (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010)
- Borders and Boundaries - Oxford Bibliographies Online
Agnew, John Globalization and Sovereignty (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009)
Brunet-Jailly, Emmanuel (Ed.) Borderlands: Comparing Border Security in North America and Europe (University of Ottawa Press, 2007)
Harm de Blij The Power of Place: Geography, Destine, and Globalization's Rough Landscape (Oxford University Press, 2009)
van Houtum, Henk, Olivier Kramsch, and Wolfgang Zierhofer (Eds.) B/Ordering Space (Ashgate, 2005)
H. Nicol and I. Townsend-Gault (Ed.) Holding the Line: Borders in a Global World (University of British Columbia Press, 2005)
Gabriel Popescu Bordering and Ordering the Twenty-first Century: Understanding Borders (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012)
Elden, Stuart Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty (University of Minnesota Press, 2009)
Wastl-Walter, Doris (Ed.) The Ashgate Research Companion to Border Studies (Ashgate, 2011)
Wilson, Thomas M., and Hastings Donnan, (Eds.) A Companion to Border Studies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012)