Journal Article

Living with shifting borders: Peripheralisation and the production of invisibility


The article analyses the experiences and material impacts of shifting borders in the historical case of Sri Lanka’s civil war and the contemporary case of shifting border between Georgia and South Ossetia. The two cases point to some lesser known geopolitical practices in which border-shifts and strengthening of control in contested areas take place without much international attention, partly because the shifts are so minor and gradual that they do not reach the news headlines. Living with shifting borders create a state of inbetweenness and losing of control, where forms of visibility and invisibility produces individual uncertainties and vulnerabilities in homeplaces and people’s everyday lives. By analysing the borderland and bordershifts from the perspective of the peripheral, the article emphasises the ways in which border practices become part of social action through a rescaling of the understanding of the border encouraged by feminist geopolitics. The article begins by discussing what borders may mean and how borders shift and may produce particular forms of visibility and invisibility. Then the contexts of the Sri Lankan and Georgian villages are introduced before a short discussion of the methods applied. The article then analyses how the bordershifts create particular material and symbolic outcomes, an experience of ‘displacement in place, and the particular invisibilities created on the ground in the two cases. The article concludes by reflecting on how border-practices produce forms of visibility and invisibility that continue to render people in the borderlands peripheral.

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Brun, Cathrine

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment\School of Architecture


Year of publication: 2017
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-09-04

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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