Borders and Margins
The post-Cold War acceleration of globalization and the multi-layered consequences of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have had profound effects on borders. These include empirical borders, such as state, regional, security and “glocal” boundaries that feature on maps and in organizational practices, and also conceptual ones, such as social, cultural, economic, religious, ethnic, sexual and linguistic distinctions that discipline and divide human populations through identity politics and bio-political management.
These borders create margins, through which administrative and military bureaucracies, as well as NGOs, activists, “networks” and more-or-less organized criminals and terrorists operate, empirically and conceptually. Borders between recognized states, de-facto states, sub-states, occupied territories and supra-national governance authorities are spatial creations defined through lines that separate one country, state, province, zone, “union” etc. from another, while borderlands appear to be critical zones at the margins of state control and governing institutions.
However, borders are not simply territorial lines demarcated by road signs, official checkpoints, even barbed-wire fences and fortified walls, but institutions in themselves. They have a dynamic character arising from their formal or informal functions and impacts. At a time when entire regions have been destabilized by the implosion of borders – often imposed by former and current imperialisms rather than arising through freely negotiated or democratic means – these margins are now conflict zones and flash points in national and international politics. Such conflicts and controversies are currently presenting very serious challenges to the international governance of human rights derived from the Universal Declaration of 1948, which reaches its 70th anniversary in 2018.
In the last few decades, the evolution of information technologies has transformed the traditional “border as a barrier” by virtually enclosing people into groups with common identities and interests. These groups are dispersed throughout the globe, and so lack any form of territorial compactness or contiguity. Electronic “connectedness,” whether in information exchange, e-commerce, international academic work, financialization, security surveillance or criminality, challenges the imposition of physical barriers, bureaucratized checks and migration controls in starkly political terms. The new “Great Firewall of China” is about as ineffective as the old physical Great Wall was, and “leaks” of huge quantities of financial, commercial and security data continue to defy the attempted criminalization of “leakers.” The challenges posed by these global developments – which make headline news when violence erupts or powerful politicians are exposed – invite us to explore the fundamental dynamics of inclusion and exclusion under an all-encompassing theme “Borders and Margins.”
Along with those who constitute the current majority/minority or other identity “mix” within a state, there are also those caught in marginal zones, such as immigrant groups that are physically “inside” but are said by some not to “belong.” They are typically central to a politics of multiculturalism/cosmopolitanism, or nationalism/assimilation, or expulsion/genocide. The politics of “Borders and Margins” has a common centre of gravity: that of “otherness” or “otherization,” which, in turn, determines the borders and creates marginalizations. It is these practices which further determine inequalities of wealth and power, now very extreme in global terms. “Borders and Margins” offers participants in IPSA’s 25th World Congress broad scientific possibilities within the ethical dimensions through which the discipline operates.
These conjunctions of empirical activities and conceptual claims generate new methodologies in cognate disciplines that political scientists are keen to adopt. The Congress theme should be taken to include further perspectives including history, geography, international relations, international law, philosophy, sociology, political psychology, cultural studies, feminist and gender studies, queer perspectives, security studies and similarly engaged forms of scientific enquiry. In these fields there are crucial debates on sovereignty and identity, rights and obligations, just and unjust warfare and “interventions,” democratic theory and practice, and international governance, among other areas of concern.
IPSA therefore expects that “Borders and Margins” will thematically unite participants and broaden their understanding of politics. “Borders and Margins” are constitutive of crucial political processes and are therefore a focus for the international political sciences which study them.
Das Berliner Methodentreffen Qualitative Forschung ist mit insgesamt ca. 500 Beteiligten die größte Jahresveranstaltung zu qualitativen Forschungsmethoden im deutschsprachigen Raum. Erstmals 2005 ausgerichtet, hat sich das Berliner Methodentreffen schnell im Spektrum der Angebote zu qualitativer Forschung etabliert. Das Berliner Methodentreffen wendet sich an alle, die in ihren Qualifikationsarbeiten (Diplom, Dissertation, Habilitation usw.) oder in ihren Forschungsarbeiten mit qualitativen Methoden arbeiten und an alle, die generell an qualitativer Forschung interessiert sind.
Wie jedes Jahr ist der Verlag Barbara Budrich wieder mit einem Büchertisch vor Ort und wir freuen uns, dass unsere Zeitschriftenredaktionen beim Meet the Editor aktiv sind!
Foto: Canva.com 2018
The 2018 General Conference will be held at Universität Hamburg in northern Germany. Hamburg, or to give it its official name, Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, (Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg), is Germany’s second largest city. The Speicherstadt (city of warehouses) has recently been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status and, with more bridges than Venice and Amsterdam combined, it could just be the perfect place to build and strengthen links between all areas of the political science discipline.
ECPR’s General Conference remains Europe’s largest annual gathering of political scientists, often attracting more than 2,000 scholars from throughout the world and at all stages of their career. With nearly 500 Panels taking place across 68 Sections, the academic programme covers the breadth of political science, creating the platform for lively discussion, exchange of ideas and the best thinking in the discipline.
The academic content is complemented by a stimulating plenary programme, including Roundtables addressing topical or contentious themes and a Plenary Lecture delivered by a high profile member of the profession. The timetable is completed by a carefully planned social programme, offering many opportunities to meet with old friends and new colleagues.
Komplexe Dynamiken globaler und lokaler Entwicklungen
Der 39. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS) »Komplexe Dynamiken globaler und lokaler Entwicklungen« 2018 in Göttingen will die derzeitigen gesellschaftlichen Veränderungen nicht allein vor Ort, sondern im komplexen Spannungsfeld globaler, regionaler, nationaler und lokaler Dynamiken ausleuchten. Dafür bieten sich je nach Untersuchungsgegenstand unterschiedliche methodische Zugriffe an, von mikrosoziologischen Fallstudien über großflächige makrosoziologische Vergleiche bis hin zu Mehrebenenanalysen, von der interpretativen Rekonstruktion von Deutungsmustern bis hin zur Analyse kausaler Mechanismen sozialen Wandels. Sie alle können jeweils spezifische Beiträge dazu leisten, den soziologischen Blick in räumlicher und zeitlicher Hinsicht zu erweitern und Anstöße zur Reflexion gewohnter Perspektiven und normativer Prämissen unserer Disziplin zu geben. Der Kongress zielt damit auf zweierlei: Erstens soll im Rahmen einer Standortbestimmung des Faches diskutiert werden, mit welchen theoretischen Zugängen, analytischen Instrumentarien und empirischen Methoden sich die komplexen Verflechtungen lokaler, nationaler, regionaler und globaler Dynamiken erfassen lassen. Zweitens sollen der Wandel und die Verflochtenheit unterschiedlicher räumlicher und zeitlicher Ebenen exemplarisch anhand konkreter Themenfelder ausgeleuchtet werden.