Border Politics

Social Movements, Collective Identities, and Globalization

368 pages

4 figures and 2 tables

October, 2014

ISBN: 9781479847761



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Nancy A. Naples is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Sociology at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of many books, including Feminism and Method: Ethnography, Discourse Analysis, and Activist Research, and Grassroots Warriors: Activist Mothering, Community Work, and the War on Poverty.

All books by Nancy A. Naples

Jennifer Bickham Mendez is Associate Professor of Sociology at The College of William & Mary. She is author of From the Revolution to the Maquiladoras: Gender, Labor and Globalization in Nicaragua (2005). Her scholarship has appeared in such journals as Gender and Society, Mobilization, Social Problems and Ethnic and Racial Studies.

All books by Jennifer Bickham Mendez

In the current historical moment borders have taken on heightened material and symbolic significance, shaping identities and the social and political landscape. “Borders”—defined broadly to include territorial dividing lines as well as sociocultural boundaries—have become increasingly salient sites of struggle over social belonging and cultural and material resources. How do contemporary activists navigate and challenge these borders? What meanings do they ascribe to different social, cultural and political boundaries, and how do these meanings shape the strategies in which they engage? Moreover, how do these social movements confront internal borders based on the differences that emerge within social change initiatives?
Border Politics, edited by Nancy A. Naples and Jennifer Bickham Mendez, explores these important questions through eleven carefully selected case studies situated in geographic contexts around the globe. By conceptualizing struggles over identity, social belonging and exclusion as extensions of border politics, the authors capture the complex ways in which geographic, cultural, and symbolic dividing lines are blurred and transcended, but also fortified and redrawn. This volume notably places right-wing and social justice initiatives in the same analytical frame to identify patterns that span the political spectrum. Border Politics offers a lens through which to understand borders as sites of diverse struggles, as well as the strategies and practices used by diverse social movements in today’s globally interconnected world. 
Contributors:  Phillip Ayoub, Renata Blumberg, Yvonne Braun, Moon Charania, Michael Dreiling, Jennifer Johnson, Jesse Klein, Andrej Kurnik, Sarah Maddison, Duncan McDuie-Ra, Jennifer Bickham Mendez, Nancy A. Naples, David Paternotte, Maple Razsa, Raphi Rechitsky, Kyle Rogers, Deana Rohlinger, Cristina Sanidad, Meera Sehgal, Tara Stamm, Michelle Téllez


  • "Border Politics is a groundbreaking book on how borders and boundaries—both territorial and symbolic—shape the mobilization of social movements at the same time that they are instrumental in the very often conflicting identity construction processes of social movements’ participants. Nancy A. Naples and Jennifer Bickham Mendez have arranged a significant, comprehensive, and timely collection of essays."

    —Pablo Vila, author of Border Identifications and Ethnography at the Border

  • "These chapters explore the multiple ways in which borderings are made, experienced, demolished, invented. From sacred spaces inside a country to the formal borders of the inter-state system, the authors track and theorize the constellations of meanings that arise at diverse types of borders. This is a groundbreaking collection."

    —Saskia Sassen, author of Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy

  • "This edited volume highlights many contemporary geopolitical issues in the social sciences.  The contributors take a global perspective, examining problems from Asia, North America, Australia, Europe, and Africa.”


  • "The edited collection offers an important contribution to the sociology of bordering.  Rather than focusing on struggles over the militarization of geographical borderlands as outlined by scholars like Reece Jones, the contribution of the book lies in its original approach to the analysis of social movements for which borders and boundaries are sites of struggle.  More precisely, the chapters depict how these social movements maintain, contest, produce, and dissolve borders and boundaries.”

    Border Criminologies

  • “The collection certainly confirmed one in the belief that looking into inscriptions on boundaries is a fruitful way to find insight into the ever-shifting identities that poststructuralism has encouraged us to spot.”

  • “This volume will be welcomed by experts committed to the study of borders—geographical or figurative—and political contestations.”