The discourse of circulation proceeds as if we were living in a borderless world. But over recent years, we have been witnessing new re-bordering processes. The panel wants to evaluate the classical perspectives of the discipline, and to shed light on new agendas and research practices.
The discourse of circulation and mobility mostly proceeds as if we were living in an increasingly borderless world. But at least over recent years, processes of de-bordering in trade and information have been accompanied by new re-bordering efforts by diverse actors. At the same time, bordered territories are re-defined through material and non-material processes of circulation. Thus it is not surprising that the international appeal of "border studies" has increased tremendously in recent years, to the point where Henk van Houtum speaks of a "border studies industry" (2009).
Therefore, the panel wants to evaluate the classical perspectives of cultural anthropological border and borderland studies with regard to recent developments in the world, and to shed light on new agendas and research practices. It will analyze the specific theoretical as well as methodological insights and approaches of cultural anthropology and its specific contribution to the interdisciplinary field of border studies. Especially recent theoretical as well as methodological debates on actor-network-theory, science and technology studies or Foucauldian approaches in political anthropology seem to offer some creative stimuli for this research field.
The ethnographic approach of cultural anthropology can significantly contribute to producing locally specific, situated knowledge which is capable of addressing these ambivalent processes of de- and re-bordering and their relation to processes of circulation and mobility. Therefore we especially welcome ethnographically grounded papers that try to reflect theoretical as well as methodological aspects of cultural anthropological approaches in the field of border and borderland studies.
Timothy Anderson (Tallinn University)