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Addressing 'urban borderlands' as an analytical key concept for collaborative research practices at the crossroad of anthropology and geography, this panel focuses on these complex spatial configurations within metropolitan areas, investigating the physical, social and symbolic aspects they entail.
During the last years, the concepts of 'border' and 'borderlands' have become key within both geographical and anthropological studies focusing on frontier, migration, nationalism and (in)security (Andalzúa 1987; Alvarez 1995; Morehouse 2004; Agier 2016). Yet the most interesting feature of border-lands is the entanglement of their imaginative and concrete aspects, and the interdisciplinary shift required to grasp their complexity. Not to be conceived of only as national frontiers and geopolitical borders, 'borderlands' represent spaces of friction, encounter and tension, to be often (but not only) found in the urban realm, unfolding their multiscalar and social production. Aiming at building a reflection on 'urban borderlands' as an analytical key concept for collaborative research practices in between geography and anthropology, this panel focuses on these spatial configurations encompassing physical, social and symbolic aspects. We welcome contributions from both disciplines engaging with the transactional nature (Meeus, van Heur & Arnaut, 2019) of urban borderlands, spaces through which run boundary lines, as well as spaces that are lived and perceived as borders, without necessarily including physical divides but still representing areas of transition, friction, tension, mixture and negotiation. Key for the analysis of how fractures are generated within the urban realm, engaging with exclusion, marginalization and processes of precariousness endured by certain population groups, the proposed focus also allows us to undertake the epistemological and methodological challenge of building exchanges between geography and anthropology by taking into consideration spatial, social, perceptual, and dimensions of the multiscalarity of borderlands and their reproduction within metropolitan areas.