Kristina Korte: Filtering or Blocking Mobility? Inequalities, Marginalization, and Power Relations at Fortified Borders. [Abstract]

This paper investigates four fortified borders: those between Hungary and Serbia, the USA and Mexico, Algeria and Morocco, and Pakistan and India. Starting from current border research, it asks how fortified borders control mobility, who is affected by fortifications, and how. Based on qualitative interviews, the paper finds that although all four borders are similarly fortified, they control mobility in different ways; while the Hungarian and the US border fences filter mobility, the two other borders instead block all forms of circulation. The paper conceptualizes these different types as filter borders and deadlock borders. It then examines their effects and analyzes not only how they are related to inequalities and power relations, but also how they can be used as resources. The filter borders reinforce the global gap in mobility rights by blocking migrants, whereas the deadlock borders also lead to increasing inequality within a country – between the capital and the border population – by cutting economic, social, and familial ties across the border line. The two border types also indicate different relations between neighboring states; filter borders are related to a clear gap in wealth and power, with one state exploiting the fortification to its advantage. By contrast, at the deadlock borders, the power balance is more ambiguous and contested.

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