chapter  16
6 Pages


Borders are there to be crossed (but not by everybody)
WithNoel B. Salazar

The ethnographic docufiction Jaguar, by French anthropologist Jean Rouch, contains a famous border scene that serves as a humorous illustration for many of the points this book is trying to make. Complete borderlessness is ‘a hoped-for universalization of liberalism, but it is also, and perhaps more importantly, an upgrading and rethinking of the site of political imagination from the national to the global’. Geopolitical developments such as the end of the colonial era have obvious consequences for physical borders and symbolical boundaries. Borders are key elements in processes of exclusion and states have a monopoly to control mobilities across them and to define the accepted ethical norms and forms of hospitality towards border crossers. Border crossings–be they physical or virtual–can be thought of as an entanglement of movement, meaning, and practice, involving a complex politics of hierarchy, of inclusion and exclusion. New boundaries are constructed even as borders are crossed, and such boundaries are multiple and multifaceted.