State borders are contested. In particular the issue of migration control stirs political controversies all over the world. Some call for stricter fortification and policing, while others envision a world of open or no borders. The dominating preference for a policy of walled or fenced borders and the efforts to install ‘smart’ surveillance technologies is costly and involves harmful side-effects. However, a sound conceptualisation of THE state border is lacking. The State Border is usually treated as a black box. Notwithstanding this course focuses on the few available attempts to conceptualise State Border as such. A set of issues will be raised: Is it reasonable to distinguish boundary and border? How do ancient, medieval and modern concepts of state border differ? How is the institution State Border factually operating? Which functions serves a state border? Could some functions probably be less harmfully implemented by other institutions? How do state borders interact with other politically relevant borders at Europe and International level? The course strives to overcome a simplifying and flawed political appraisal of state borders as either good or bad. Only a more nuanced conceptualisation helps to identify the conditions for the opportunity of less harmful bordering practices.
- Teacher: Cyrus Norbert