Globalization: The Return of Borders to a Borderless World?

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The volume of tourism has increased perpetually.


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In , more than 1. New destinations are evolving in both developed and developing countries.

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Whereas the fairly unregulated migration prior to was not regarded as a challenge to state sovereignty, and many states supported labour migration until the — 70s, the situation has changed. Although some authors argue that borderless economics requires free migration Guest, many politicians believe that international migration is a threat to the sovereignty read: security of states, especially to their ability to regulate mobilities across borders Castles et al.

The share of people living outside of their country of birth has grown gradually, being million in , million in and million in Castles et al. These figures include about 20 million refugees. These relatively modest numbers nevertheless seem to animate nationalism and exclusive national socialization. Despite the ongoing construction of border walls, curtailing of free migration and general criticism, the borderless world thesis persists in academic and policy debates related to global business, management, consumption, innovations, security, taxation, drug problems and, of course, the present and future roles of borders themselves.

Current borders and bordering practices display some of the varied ways in which different institutions articulate state borders.

Sassen notes how the governance of state borders is increasingly characterized by multilayered, disperse and segmented modes of regulation and governance, and how new assemblages of political, legal, and territorial practices signify lasting pressures between new global relationships, national identity, and state security. Johnson, Similarly, the governance of borders is distributed in global space.

We are witnessing the rise of what Sassen calls transversally bordered spaces: state borders are not simply legal borderlines but rather a mix of regimes with variable contents and geographic and institutional locations and arrangements. She argues that various flows capital, information, professional or undocumented migrants each constitute a bordering through a particular arrangement of interventions, with dissimilar institutional and geographic positions.

The concrete state borders matter in some of these flows but not in others. The meanings and functions of borders are fluctuating even though the actual geopolitical and legally defined lines may remain unaltered. Thus borders are influenced not only by the internal forces of states but are ever more related to supraterritorial geo-economic forces, military conflicts, forced and voluntary mobilities, the transformation and rescaling of security threats related e.

This is perhaps too vague a statement since state borders come into being in and through a multitude of institutional practices and discourses in specific sites border areas, cities, airports, etc. Borders have different meanings and effects for different actors. This highlights the importance of symbolic national landscapes, educational institutions, national literature, media, collective events such as national and independence days, etc. Nationalism, national identity and related emotions are critical in the production and reproduction of these landscapes.

Second, borders are simultaneously part of the technical landscapes of control, that is, the mechanisms and networks that draw on increasingly technical solutions used in bordering and control practices biometrics, networks of daytime and infrared cameras, sensors, detention centres, externalization of border control. Sassen, Bordering is increasingly militarized, which can be seen in both its technical solutions and externalization. These two landscapes form a multilayered dynamic and elastic continuum that embraces both national and international elements.

Instead of becoming borderless, the current world is blanketed with oppressive border controls; deadly wars and conflicts; xenophobia and racism; intolerance and discrimination. Concrete border walls are also constructed around the world, typically justified by the fear of terrorism but in practice states erect walls and develop bordering technologies to govern and categorize various forms of mobility.

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Along with these developments, bordering and the policies, tactics and technologies mobilized by states in the control of flows e. Migration policies affect migrants, potential migrants and those who live among them Pevnick, , p. In turn, much of critical border research focuses today on the control of mobility, the practices of bordering, and the violence generated by such practices. From this vantage point borders are, Anderson et al. It should not go without noting here that migratory movements have historically been outcomes of territorial, political, juridical or economic expulsion Nail, Part of the no borders literature takes a radical, anarchist step further: not only borders but also statehood, citizenship and nations should be rejected Anderson et al.

Though morally and ethically justified, for most scholars these ideas are utopian and idealistic. Claims for open borders have been put forward on a more versatile ground. Authors accentuate the importance of free movement by paying attention to macro-economic aspects and human rights, thus stressing both economic and ethical justifications. The open border debate often reflects reasoning based on liberal political theory, market economy, or political economy perspectives see Bauder, Wellman in Wellman and Cole, recognizes the egalitarian, libertarian, democratic and utilitarian arguments for open borders.

It draws inspiration from existing campaigns against immigration controls, incarceration of undocumented migrants and deportation programs that explicitly call into question the legitimacy of the global system of national states and the interrelated system of global capitalism.

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No borders politics works against the control of mobility and related activities. It claims the right for all to move freely and sees that the state is deeply involved in creating vulnerability through immigration controls and practices Burridge, Counter practices and critiques against the borderless world thesis, open borders and no borders reflect and reproduce state power and the legitimate monopoly of the state to violence and territorial control, as well as their sovereign power over the fates of people inside the territory, the status of citizenship and border-crossings.

As the table shows, there are also much more nuanced forces and elements that can give rise to counter-practices. Such forces may emerge from various forms of nationalism hot and banal , from politicians attempts to please the electorate, as well as from the embedded nature of borders in numerous social spheres related to how labour markets, welfare, and political participation are regulated. States are certainly not merely the Big evil for migrants: states also use their power to care for and support those who are admitted refugee or asylum seeker status.

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As Bulley , p. Research themes and methodological approaches have expanded profoundly.

Some researchers look at mobile borders from the angle of biometrics, human bodies and affects, whereas others study the border struggles of mobile labour and asylum seekers, raising ethical and humanitarian aspects to the fore. For some, border is an epistemic angle, a method that can offer insights into tensions and conflicts that blur the lines between inclusion and exclusion Mezzadra and Neilson, His ideas exemplify a neoliberal tendency to convert the political rationality embedded in the existing geopolitical territorial order and its dividing lines into a geo- economic rationality and imagination that stresses networked and fluid forms of spatialities that supersede state borders.

This new rationality represents an ostensibly post-political and post-ideological stance that strives to replace the Cold War-era geopolitical order and fixity with a new order in the spirit of consumerism based on the rules driven by technological forces and the capitalist market Green and Ruhleder, States are not similar, of course: some are more powerful than others and a few are hegemonic. States control their borders and this control seems to be accelerating both in the physical and emotional sense spatial socialization.

In the current transnational world, the most rapidly developing research themes materialize in the relations between borders, mobilities and identities.

Borders and migration have become a critical collocation in social science. Thus, borders are increasingly multifaceted and this complexity will not only provide scholars with an array of research themes but will also raise ethical and moral challenges and spur activism related to the politically contradictory processes that ultimately reflect the global uneven development. The ultimate challenge for border scholars is not only to map the multidimensional meanings of borders, their influences on mobilities and to develop sophisticated theoretical frameworks.

A major task is also to think and act beyond the existing theoretical and practical limitations of bordering practices, borders and territory Agnew, , p.

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This task necessitates making continually visible the ethical and moral issues related to both bordering and border- crossing and makes responding to them necessary as well. References Agnew, J. The territorial trap: the geographical assumptions in international relations theory. Review of International Political Economy. Volume 1 1 , pp. Agnew, J. Borders on the mind: re-framing border thinking. Volume 1 4 , pp. Anderson, B. Editorial: why no borders?

Volume 20 2 , pp. Baird, V. World Population. Oxford: New Internationalist. Balibar, E. The borders of Europe. In: P. Cheah and B. Robbins, eds. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, pp. Bauder, H.

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Imagining a Borderless World. In: A. Paasi, E-K. Prokkola, J. Saarinen and K. Zimmerbauer, eds. Ethics, Moralities and Mobilities. London: Routledge, pp. Border control and the limits of the sovereign state. Volume 17 2 , pp. Bulley, D. Spaces of Hospitality in International Politics. London: Sage.