Why Study Borders Now? James Anderson, Liam O ‘Dowd and Thomas M.Wilson This essay addresses the paradox that when state borders were relatively
strong they were generally neglected by social science, but now when weakened, albeit selectively, by globalization and European integration there is an upsurge of interest in them. The previous, damaging neglect is linked to how and where social science was institutionalized, while the recent upsurge of interest is linked to the increasing differentiation of borders and their filtering effects. Borders are constitutive of what they contain; pivotal to mismatches and contradictions between different states; and pivotal also to our contradictory world system. Goods and capital move more freely across borders while people are more regulated. Tendencies towards a relatively globalized economy are in disjuncture with a multiplicity of bordered states.