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Borderscaping helps understand social change

January 21, 2016

"Borders are more than just lines on a map; they are constructions and concepts that are constantly re-negotiated and maintained. Moreover, borders involve habits, attitudes and institutions that are used to create and maintain distinctions between 'us' and 'them'," says Researcher Jussi Laine of the University of Eastern Finland, summing up the ideas of the recently published book Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Border Making.

The collapse of the Soviet Union, fluctuations in the global economy that cross borders, and international terrorism with its security-related challenges have over the past years expanded the dialogue in research addressing borders and created a need to take border studies beyond research that addresses state borders.

The book provides topical insight into borders, which - depending on the point of view - can have very different meanings for different people.

"The current situation in the Mediterranean, which serves as a dividing line, is a good example of this. Hundreds of people have drowned in the Mediterranean in an effort to come to Europe, yet at the same time its beaches are crowded with sun-bathing tourists. In some cases the beaches have been cleared of the bodies of drowned refugees only minutes before the arrival of tourists."

The book helps readers to better understand current phenomena and on-going change in society by presenting borders as complex and multidimensional concepts that are subject to dynamic temporal and spatial change.

"With this book and through the concept of borderscape, we seek to challenge concepts and practices that are considered self-evident. Borders are relative, dynamic and challenged spaces, and they are everywhere around us."

The book also addresses the issue of who has the right to define borders, and for what purpose.

Jussi Laine works as a Researcher at the University of Eastern Finland, and he is the Project Manager of the EUBORDERSCAPES project. Furthermore, Laine is the Executive Secretary and Treasurer of the Association for Borderlands Studies. At the University of Eastern Finland, multidisciplinary research addressing borders is one of the university's top-level international research areas.
Chiara Brambilla, Jussi Laine, James W. Scott and Gianluca Bocchi: Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Border Making, Ashgate 2015,

For further information, please contact: Jussi Laine,, tel. +358 50 433 8252

University of Eastern Finland

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