This panel explores the ways and possibilities that people perceive and cross borderlines despite the construction of borders and boundaries at two levels, physical State border checkpoints and symbolic boundaries.
John Torpey (2000) states that the increasing control of human circulation - reducing individual's freedom of movement - is strongly linked to the rise of modern Nation-State and to its progressive monopole of violence. Movement control and border policies are of main importance in State development and competition, revealing the ambiguous nature of the modern (Western) State, both protecting and dominating its citizens. Since the XIXth century, inside and outside of Europe, the apparition of new States has meant the construction of new borders, sometimes dividing people who had long lived together. This introduced consequential distinctions between us (citizens) and them (foreigners). In the XXth century, relaxing controls of borders inside regional economic areas often allowed people to move more freely and create new social networks.
Our aim is to reflect on the impact of the nature of borders, more or less porous, on social networks, the accommodation in social practices of people at the borderland and margins to escape State control. We examine the multiple consequences of border-building: on the constitution of "the self," and of identifications along national, ethnic, and/or religious lines.