Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.
Migrating borders and moving times explores how crossing borders entails shifting time as well as changing geographical location. Space has long dominated the field of border studies, a prominence which the recent ‘spatial turn’ in social science has reinforced. This book challenges the classic analytical pre-eminence of ‘space’ by focusing on how ‘border time’ is shaped by, shapes and constitutes the borders themselves. Using original field data from Israel, northern Europe and Europe's south-eastern borders (Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Sarajevo, Lesbos), our contributors explore ‘everyday forms of border temporality’ – the ways in which people through their temporal practices manage, shape, represent and constitute the borders across which they move or at which they are made to halt. In these accounts, which are based on fine-tuned ethnographic research sensitive to historical depth and wider political-economic context and transformation, ‘moving’ is understood not only as mobility but as affect, where borders become not just something to be ‘crossed’ but something that is emotionally experienced and ‘felt’.
EU cross-border Passagenwerk
Olivier Thomas Kramsch
For us, the solution was in the direction of the horizon. We were those who scrutinised the horizon. We looked forward, not back. To the question, ‘What is thinking?’
we didn’t respond, ‘Being’ [like Heidegger] but with ‘the possible’. (Henri Lefebvre,
cited in Hess 1988: 54)
Thoughts from a deckchair in Wyler, Germany
Walking through the village of Wyler, the last German settlement before the border
crossing into the Netherlands, one drifts past cavernous, odoriferous farmhouses,
fleeting images of green
Silenced border crossings and gendered
material flows in southern Albania
Nataša Gregorič Bon
My friend Maria and I were sitting on the front porch of the house of the village
teacher, Naso, admiring his garden in the spring sun.1 Naso was in the kitchen,
preparing a welcome drink (qeras/kerasmo2). Within a few minutes he was in the
doorway, holding two glasses of peach juice, which he carefully set on the table in
front of us. He smiled and said:
When a man is at home alone he brings the drinks in his hands and not on a tray as
his wife would do. This is
Border crossings, shame and (re-)narrating
the past in the Ukrainian–Romanian
In April 2008, I celebrated my birthday in the village of Diyalivtsi,1 where I had been
living since October 2007, while carrying out research on informal economic practices in the Ukrainian–Romanian borderlands. My host, Rodika, and I had spent
some time preparing food and drink for visitors and the first to arrive were our good
friends and neighbours Luchika and her daughter Zhenia. Luchika and her son-inlaw Dima were both cross-border small traders of
This book argues for greater openness in the ways we approach human rights and international rights promotion, and in so doing brings some new understanding to old debates. Starting with the realities of abuse rather than the liberal architecture of rights, it casts human rights as a language for probing the political dimensions of suffering. Seen in this context, the predominant Western models of right generate a substantial but also problematic and not always emancipatory array of practices. These models are far from answering the questions about the nature of political community that are raised by the systemic infliction of suffering. Rather than a simple message from ‘us’ to ‘them’, then, rights promotion is a long and difficult conversation about the relationship between political organisations and suffering. Three case studies are explored: the Tiananmen Square massacre, East Timor's violent modern history and the circumstances of indigenous Australians. The purpose of these discussions is not to elaborate on a new theory of rights, but to work towards rights practices that are more responsive to the spectrum of injury that we inflict and endure.
Introduction: bordering intimacy
This book began on an EasyJet flight. Or to be more specific, it began
when my partner and I were stopped from getting on an EasyJet flight.
In the early hours of the morning we had arrived at the airport to
board a flight to Sicily for fieldwork and to attend a conference. As we
queued to board the plane with our young son, the airline staff made
a further inspection of my partner’s visa documents and her recently
acquired family migration visa and marriage certificate. Unsure of the
rules that applied to non-EU citizens
Conclusion: pasts and presents
This book began as an investigation into the relationship between family
and borders; however, it became increasingly apparent that this makes
no sense outside of the history and legacy of empire. Government and
the organisation of violence continue to be shaped by imperial and
colonial histories and the ongoing remaking of liberal empire within
and beyond postcolonial states like Britain.
In this context, borders and bordering are better understood as modes
of colonial rule brought ‘home’ to metropoles, energised and legitimated
regarded by the Anglo-Saxon
race as a curse against civilisation’ (quoted in Shepard 1986: 101).
Stoler (2002) reminds us how managing intimacy was central to the
power relations of empire. Appropriate behaviours, sexual conduct,
proximity and touching all worked as sites of struggle over race, gender,
class. As developed in the case of the ‘savages’ of South Africa, orientalist
imaginaries of feverish sexuality, immorality and virility conditioned
both the racialisation of colonised men but also the parameters over
the acceptable conduct of
5 ‘These water melons’, c.1860.
The second time I encountered the image was in the Bristol Museum
gallery in a display on Empire through the Lens, a display of twenty-seven
images describing the impact of the British Empire. This time, the image
was accompanied by a reading by Anderson and Mortimer Evelyn (2019).
They highlight the racist composition of the image but also argue that
in these labourers ‘look’ is a recognition that they are being caricatured.
Within this look, they argue, ‘resides a testament to endurance’. The
children’s stare, which