This is the blog of the Borderwork: citizen empowerment through bordering research project.
Borders have been studied extensively of late, particularly in relation to the state control of immigration, and securitization post- 9/11, where emphasis is given to the ways in which borders are increasingly dispersed throughout society: at airports, along motorways, in internet cafes, at railway stations. Such bordering practises are normally associated with the state and the extent to which ordinary people can construct, shift, and dismantle borders is not acknowledged. The research explores this neglected dimension of border studies, what we term ‘borderwork’: the ability of citizens to participate in the making of borders, and the empowerment that can result from this bordering activity. To this end, the project will continue to map the extent of borderwork in the UK. In particular, the borderwork inspired by nationalism (e.g. recent attempts to reborder Berwick-upon-Tweed, which features as one of our current case studies) and the ‘politics of everyday fear’ (gated communities, ‘no cold-calling zones’ and ‘citizen detectives’), new opportunities for bordering provided by transnational networks (e.g. the Cittaslow movement), and the efforts of NGOs (e.g. ‘Brides Without Borders’) to ameliorate borders.
The case studies featured so far represent the first stage of our ongoing research project and can be accessed individually from the menu bar above. Updates, as well as further research agendas, publications and conference papers, will be added accordingly.
KEYWORDS: borders; borderwork; bordering; citizens; new borders; connectivity
Centre for Global and Transnational Politics, Department of Politics and International Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX