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James W. Scott

Globalization has had an immense impact on border studies. One the most important of these impacts has been a shift from a dominant concern with formal state frontiers and ethno-cultural areas to the investigation of border-making in diverse socio-spatial contexts and geographical scales. This has also encouraged a shift to multifaceted processes of border-making and their social consequences. Globalization has also contributed to the breaking down of separations between discrete disciplinary approaches within border research. As a research field, border studies now encompass a wide range of disciplines besides human geography: political science, sociology, anthropology, history, international law as well as the humanities – notably art, media studies and philosophy. Going beyond exclusively state-centred and territorial paradigms, the present state of debate emphasizes that borders are not given, they emerge through socio-political and cultural border-making or bordering that takes place within society. Engagement with globalization has induced border studies research to take seriously the interrelatedness of all previous thinking about the investigation and interpreting of borders. In the contemporary practice of border studies, literature and art tell us as much about borders, borderlands and border crossings as do ethnographic or historical investigations. It is precisely the disruptive force of globalization – whether real or imagined – that drives home the main argument of border studies: that borders are in a constant process of confirmation, contestation, transformation and re-confirmation.