Fabian Gülzau, Steffen Mau & Kristina Korte: Borders as Places of Control. Fixing, Shifting and Reinventing State Borders. An Introduction. [Abstract]

The globalizing forces of trade, capital movement, the circulation of information, and human mobility have challenged conventional understandings of borders as entry gates that are under the firm control of nation states. Some scholars have even assumed that nation states would eventually lose control of their borders due to new challenges. However, borders have proved to be resilient institutions as states have adapted and reinvented border controls in several ways. First, states have responded to new challenges by hardening their territorial boundaries through border fortifications. Second, governments have shifted border control to third countries by using tools such as visa policies or readmission agreements. Third, nation states have designed “smart borders” through biometric passports, shared databases, and digital surveillance technologies. Lastly, de-facto borders show that clearly delimited boundaries can be attractive to countries, even in regions with limited statehood.

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