Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

Martello #40: 
Perspectives on the Politics of Borders and Belonging

Edited by: Marin Beck, Bailey Gerrits, Alexandra Liebich, Rebecca Wallace. [2017]



Release Date: November 2017


102 pages

Download Format: PDF [1.8MB]



This edition of the Martello Papers series is unique in that it showcases contributions from the Political Studies Graduate Student Association’s inaugural annual conference. Funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council [SSHRC], the CIDP was proud to be a sponsor. The conference focused on the theme of The Politics of Borders and Belonging at Home and Abroad and offered insights on border and identity politics from both national and international contexts. Scholars who study borders know that, whether these are fixed or fluid, there is constant contestation over their meaning.

The collection is notable for the diversity in theoretical and epistemological approaches taken but is remarkably coherent. The authors also highlight the importance of actors at all levels, from local communities and border guards to policy communities, political parties, and international stakeholders. In terms of security, one of the most salient and controversial dimensions of border management, we not only have to ask how it is provided but by whom? Doing so uncovers a whole ecosystem of security actors and shifting power dynamics.

The contributing authors offer fresh perspectives on traditional questions in international relations and comparative politics related to the tension between the processes of globalization and integration that seemed unstoppable at the turn of the millennium and the resurgence of protectionist and nationalist reflexes that have accompanied the ascent of populist politics in the United States, the UK, and Europe. This tension reached its apex with the ongoing migration crisis. Appropriately, the authors problematize political discourse surrounding borders and belonging, such as the inclusive narrative of Canadian multiculturalism, bringing “othering” practices to the fore. The case studies introduced are also fascinating in their own right, from an analysis of the Turkish borderlands to border tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.