Borders and borderlands in contemporary culture

Front Cover
Cambridge Scholars Press, May 1, 2006 - Political Science - 129 pages
0 Reviews
It is entirely appropriate that this book should be produced in Dundalk. Located on the Northern rim of the Irish Pale, this town has straddled a border for centuries. Over the past thirty years, it has come to be closely identified with violent republicanism both by the Unionist Community in Northern Ireland and by Constitutional Nationalists in the South. Against such a hostile background academics attached to the Institute of Technology there have bravely confronted and interrogated these processes which have so blighted history not only of Dundalk but of places and spaces throughout the world similarly located.In a wide ranging series of articles , perhaps the strongest message to emerge is that of border as limitation. The notion of border as a liminal space where worlds converge, new realities emerge and transcendence is possible rarely surfaces . Instead, the border as a physical manifestation of divisiveness is repeatedly explored.In a passionate statement of solidarity with the Palestinians, Lavalette describes the construction of the apartheid wall: "The wall is eight feet high and has a watch tower every three hundred metres. Although there are no maps, it is thought it could end up being close to one thousand kilometres in length by the time it is completed" (p18).Yndigegn shows how spatial borders gradually become mental borders such that, as visual borders disappear, new invisible borders appear: (p.33). The article explores the dualism of borders - simultaneously protecting those inside from external threats while also preventing those inside from reaching or engaging with the outside world .Ni Eigeartaigh takes up the duality theme in the exploration of individualism as a process either of liberation or one of alienation. Taking the title from an aphorism of Kafka''s " My Prison Cell, My Fortress", she explores a view of contemporary society as repressive, and of its inhabitants as complicit in the repression. Drawing on a wide span of literature and disciplines, she teases through the paradox of contemporary society that the freedom gained from the liberation of the individual from communal obligations and repression has resulted in a loss of identity and an overwhelming sense of isolation and powerlessness. She concludes that in the "absence of a restrictive system of social control, the individual is forced to take responsibility for his own actions ....It is to avoid this responsibility that many..... choose the security of the prison cell above the hardship of the outside world."Her Paper does not go on to look at the potential role of the State or of Fundamentalist movements in playing on the fear and disconnectedness of the citizenry as an equally likely outcome to that of a stronger capability for personal responsibility. One could argue for instance that the Euoropean Fascist movement and the Nationalist movement of the early to mid -twentieth century, were both based precisely on the dislocation at personal and social level resulting from the breakdown of pre-industrial communitarian ties.While there is no attempt in the book to elucidate any particular deve4lopmental relationship between the different contributors, two broad themes may be detected-a concern with borders as socio-political and geographical constructs on the one hand and a concern with the formation of identity in the individual''s relationship to the wider society on the other.Some light is cast on the latter issue by de Gregorio-Godeo who posits discourse as a core concept in identity formation. This leads to the conclusion that individual identity, in this case individualism, is in fact socially constructed in a "dialectical interplay between the discursive and the social identities included-so that they are mutually shaped by each other"(p93).Using critical discourse analysis ,he goes on to explore changing notions of masculinity as evidenced in the Health sections of men''s magazines.This is an important book. It explores the fundame

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Editors Introduction
1
Chapter
20
Chapter Four
33
Copyright

4 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information