[Image Credit: Lupe Flores, No Border Walls, 2016. Images for Fencing In Democracy organized by Miguel Diaz-Barriga and Margaret Dorsey at apexart – nyc.]
Anthropology has long been interested in the question of boundaries. How do people construct boundaries around a group called “us” against a group called “them”?
Despite popular beliefs, most of human history is marked by cooperation, group permeability, and interconnection. It is only recently in human history that borders have solidified around territorial nation-states. As Sallie Han writes in The Editors’ Note for the March 2019 issue of Open Anthropology “Walls, Fences, and Barriers: Anthropology on the Border”: “Almost 30 years after the end of the Cold War, there has been a boom in the building of walls and the fortification of borders around the world. While there were seven such structures at the end of World War II, USA Today reported in May 2018 there are at least seventy-seven such barriers today, many of them erected in the aftermath of 9/11.”
This blog-post highlights recent anthropological work on boundaries, borders, and walls. Please let me know in the comments about additional work!
Anthropology on Boundaries, Borders, Walls
- In the Review of International American Studies, see the special 2018 issue on “Walls, Material and Rhetorical: Past, Present, and Future.”
- As mentioned above, see the Open Anthropology March 2019 issue on “Walls, Fences, and Barriers: Anthropology on the Border.”
This post forms part of the Immigration tag on Living Anthropologically. Check there for more blog-posts and information related to issues of boundaries, borders, and walls. Other relevant tags include globalization and Latin America.