Borders as Assemblage

By Kalpana Jha

Borders of space and power. Therefore these spatial forces endows the space with an identity, a permanence, a reason for existing, and a particular relationship with certain values and meanings resulting into the recognition that a group can form and give itself an identity (Dreyfus & Hall, 1992). The relational aspects between cultural, and political structures and their spatiality entails the transformation of meaning and the body takes new meaning. The meaning driven is thus emerging from that space and the time that the bodies are navigating. This entails the exercise of agency by those who cross the border everyday, which raises an important question about who determines the bordering process? Is it the tall and dangerous fences, the securitization approaches and authorities involved or the people who transcend these walls and fences everyday?

Border residents have the spatial capability to create rich environments with a strong sense of place which support their everyday life; this reveals not only their ingenuity and agency, but also their persistent “battle for the border,” which includes the struggle over the very meaning of border spaces (Bhabha, 1994) and their own location or situated ness within the border space and determining the bordering process. This complexity and multiplicity of border was fleshed out through the lectures during the summer school. The pressing questions that emerged were; what are the functions of the borders? How the increasing digitization of borders help translate people into the ‘legal’ and the ‘illegal’, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. This facilitates encoding and translation of the bodies into entities that can further be classified into the criteria of inclusion and exclusion which was fleshed out through the concept of ‘alterity processing’. In this process of imagination and re-imagination of borders as borders are reproduced in many different ways so are the ‘threats’ and ‘insecurities’ and ‘fear’ of the ‘other’ infiltrating the societies. This in turn helps fortification of the border infrastructures. Amidst this dynamic interplay of technologies, fortified border fortresses, the human agency still stands out. Human agency sees borders as habitable, a place of continuity, exchange and a way into new possibilities for life.

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