The role of borders as sites and progenitors of conflict: A critical analysis

Alexander Hoseason

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-178
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Discourse
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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