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606 Geopolitics, 10:606–632, 2005 Copyright © 2005 Taylor & Francis, Inc. ISSN: 1465-0045 print DOI: 10.1080/14650040500318415 FGEO 1465-0045 0000-0000 Geopolitics, Vol. 10, No. 04, September 2005: pp. 0–0 Geopolitics THEORIZING BORDERS Border Studies: Changing Perspectives and Theoretical Approaches Changing Perspectives and Theoretical Approaches Vladimir Kolossov VLADIMIR KOLOSSOV Centre of Geopolitical Studies, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences The author considers the stages of development and the progress in theory of border studies from the early twentieth century to the present. He characterises the content of each stage, new ideas, the main achievements and practical applications. The essay is partic- ularly focused on postmodern approaches that have emerged dur- ing the last 15 years. INTRODUCTION Border studies, also known as limology, have now been transformed into an interdisciplinary field developed in parallel by political scientists, sociol- ogists, ethnologists, psychologists, anthropologists, lawyers, economists, physical geographers and even specialists in technical sciences. It is recogn- ised that borders are a complicated social phenomenon related to the fun- damental basis of the organisation of society and human psychology. The continuing differentiation of border studies is leading scholars to consider that it is time to create a theory overcoming narrow disciplinary confines, unifying various aspects of the world system of political and administrative boundaries, and explaining its evolution. 1 Even common terminology and discourse raise a problem, because each discipline has its own objectives and priorities in border studies. Though a new interdisciplinary theory embracing all directions of border studies would be highly problematic to Address correspondence to Vladimir Kolossov, Head of the Center of Geopolitical Stud- ies, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Staromonetny per., 29, 119017, Moscow, Russia. E-mail: [email protected]
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Page 1: Kolossov - Border Studies

606

Geopolitics, 10:606–632, 2005Copyright © 2005 Taylor & Francis, Inc.ISSN: 1465-0045 printDOI: 10.1080/14650040500318415

FGEO1465-00450000-0000Geopolitics, Vol. 10, No. 04, September 2005: pp. 0–0Geopolitics

THEORIZING BORDERS

Border Studies: Changing Perspectives and Theoretical Approaches

Changing Perspectives and Theoretical ApproachesVladimir Kolossov

VLADIMIR KOLOSSOVCentre of Geopolitical Studies, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences

The author considers the stages of development and the progress intheory of border studies from the early twentieth century to thepresent. He characterises the content of each stage, new ideas, themain achievements and practical applications. The essay is partic-ularly focused on postmodern approaches that have emerged dur-ing the last 15 years.

INTRODUCTION

Border studies, also known as limology, have now been transformed intoan interdisciplinary field developed in parallel by political scientists, sociol-ogists, ethnologists, psychologists, anthropologists, lawyers, economists,physical geographers and even specialists in technical sciences. It is recogn-ised that borders are a complicated social phenomenon related to the fun-damental basis of the organisation of society and human psychology. Thecontinuing differentiation of border studies is leading scholars to considerthat it is time to create a theory overcoming narrow disciplinary confines,unifying various aspects of the world system of political and administrativeboundaries, and explaining its evolution.1 Even common terminology anddiscourse raise a problem, because each discipline has its own objectivesand priorities in border studies. Though a new interdisciplinary theoryembracing all directions of border studies would be highly problematic to

Address correspondence to Vladimir Kolossov, Head of the Center of Geopolitical Stud-ies, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Staromonetny per., 29, 119017,Moscow, Russia. E-mail: [email protected]

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Changing Perspectives and Theoretical Approaches 607

formulate, this difficulty does not prevent the emergence of new theoreticalframeworks or approaches that transcend the partitions between disciplines.

Geography was probably the earliest discipline to study boundariesand borders. Problems of boundaries and their delimitation are fundamentalto both of geography’s main branches – physical and human. It thus accu-mulated a rich theoretical heritage in the field of border studies. Geogra-phers historically played a pioneering role in practical studies of politicalboundaries. The objective of this essay is to give an overview of contempo-rary theoretical approaches in border studies and their development, withan emphasis on new ‘postmodern’ concepts that have appeared during thelast 10–15 years. The author will focus on the innovative elements of suchnew approaches and their contribution to the progress of border studieswithin the wider field of political geography.

The history of humanity is the history of wars and most wars have hadboundary change as at least one objective. ‘La géographie, ça sert d’abord àfaire la guerre’ (‘Geography serves first to make war’) – this title of a well-known book by French political geographer Yves Lacoste2 resounds with sym-bolism. To justify territorial claims and annexations, governments and politi-cians have usually needed a rationale. In addition, the redrawing of boundarieshas always provoked a need in applied studies to delimit and demarcate bor-derlines. Geographers have been practically irreplaceable in carrying out thistask. Nowadays, international organisations and governments still invite out-standing geographers to act as experts in questions of boundary delimitation.

The so-called new political geography, renovated and more analyticallyrigorous than its predecessor, emerged in the mid-1970s3 and is closelyrelated to other social sciences and, in particular, to political science andinternational relations.4 It is traditionally interested in an analysis of theinfluence of boundaries and their stability on international relations, as wellas in the resolution of territorial disputes and conflicts, peacemaking andpeacekeeping. In most cases, the leading experts on boundary issues arepolitical scientists and specialists.

RICH TRADITIONS AND PREMISES FOR NEW APPROACHES

It is possible to distinguish several consecutive theoretical approaches inborder studies (Table 1), which can be designated as traditional or post-modern. At each stage of their development, new approaches are appliedtogether with, and not instead of, traditional, well-developed ones, whichare not superseded and do not lose their value.

Traditional approaches include historical mapping, typological, func-tional and political methods.5

The approach based on the historical mapping of the evolution ofboundaries, their morphological features and an analysis of the human

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608

TA

BLE

1The

Dev

elopm

ent of Bord

er S

tudie

s, S

tage

s 1-

4

Stag

e/per

iod

Dom

inan

t ap

pro

aches

an

d m

ethods

The

conte

nt of a

stag

eThe

mai

n c

once

pt an

d

achie

vem

ents

Lead

ing

auth

ors

Pra

ctic

al a

pplic

atio

ns

1. S

ince

the

late

nin

etee

nth

centu

ry

His

torica

l-ge

ogr

aphic

al

appro

ach

Acc

um

ula

tion o

f em

piric

al d

ata,

det

aile

d

map

pin

g of ec

onom

ic

and s

oci

al s

truct

ure

s in

bo

rder

regi

ons, n

umer

ous

case

stu

die

s

Rep

rese

nta

tions

on the

evolu

tion o

f bord

ers

and b

ord

er a

reas

in

spac

e an

d tim

e; e

xpla

-nat

ion o

f bord

ers’ fea

-tu

res

and m

orp

holo

gy

by

the

bal

ance

of

pow

er b

etw

een n

eigh

-bouring

stat

es; r

ise

and

dec

line

of th

eory

of

nat

ura

l bord

ers

J. A

nce

l (F

rance

);

I.B

ow

man

(U

SA),

R.H

arts

horn

(U

SA),

E.B

anse

(G

erm

any)

Allo

catio

n, del

imita

tion

and d

emar

catio

n o

f post

-war

sta

te b

ord

ers

in E

uro

pe;

del

imita

tion

of c

olo

nia

l poss

essi

ons

in A

fric

a an

d A

sia

Bord

ers’

typolo

gyN

um

erous

typolo

gies

and

clas

sifica

tions

of st

ate

bord

ers;

stu

dy

of re

la-

tions

bet

wee

n the

bar

-rier

and the

conta

ct

funct

ion o

f a

bord

er

Conce

pts

of bord

er a

nd

frontie

r; theo

ries

ex

pla

inin

g th

eir

evolu

-tio

n a

nd m

orp

holo

gy

Lord

Curs

on, T. H

old

ich;

C. Fa

wce

tt (

all –

Gre

at

Brita

in), S

. B

ogg

s (U

SA)

Geo

polit

ical

strat

egie

s,

par

titio

n o

f th

e w

orld

into

are

as o

f m

ajor

pow

ers’ influen

ce;

ove

rall

applic

atio

n o

f th

e Euro

pea

n c

once

pt

of th

e bord

er a

s a

strict

ly fix

ed lin

e2.

Sin

ce the

early

1950

sFu

nct

ional

ap

pro

ach

Studie

s of tran

sboundar

y flow

s of peo

ple

, go

ods,

in

form

atio

n, e

tc.,

and o

f m

utu

al influen

ce o

f bor-

der

s an

d o

f diffe

rent

elem

ents

of th

e nat

ura

l an

d the

soci

al lan

d-

scap

es

Model

s of tran

sboundar

y in

tera

ctio

ns

at d

iffe

r-en

t sp

atia

l le

vels

and

typolo

gies

of tran

s-boundar

y flow

s;

under

stan

din

g of

bord

ers

as a

multi

-dim

ensi

onal

and

hig

hly

dyn

amic

soci

al

phen

om

enon; co

n-

cepts

of th

e bord

er

landsc

ape

and o

f th

e st

ages

of bord

er a

reas

’ ev

olu

tion

J.R.V

. Pre

scot

t; (A

ustral

ia),

J.W. H

ouse

(G

reat

Brita

in), J

. M

ingh

i (U

SA), M

. Fo

uch

er

(Fra

nce

), G

.Bla

ke

(Gre

at B

rita

in),

O.M

artin

ez (

USA

)

Bord

er n

egotia

tions,

pra

ctic

e of bord

er

cooper

atio

n a

nd m

an-

agem

ent of so

cial

pro

-ce

sses

in b

ord

er a

reas

; del

imita

tion a

nd

dem

arca

tion o

f new

polit

ical

bord

ers

(incl

udin

g se

a bor-

der

s)

Page 4: Kolossov - Border Studies

609

3. S

ince

th

e 19

70s

Polit

ical

sc

ience

ap

pro

aches

Studie

s of st

ate

bord

ers’

role

in inte

rnat

ional

co

nflic

ts

Rel

atio

n be

twee

n bo

rder

s’

feat

ures

and

the

ir rol

e in

the

beg

inni

ng, t

he

evol

utio

n an

d th

e re

so-

lutio

n of

bor

der co

n-fli

cts; b

orde

rs a

re m

ost

ofte

n co

nsid

ered

as

a gi

ven

real

ity

G. G

oer

tz a

nd P

. D

iehl,

T. G

urr

, H

.Sta

rr,

A.K

irby

(all

–USA

) an

d

oth

ers.

Res

olu

tion o

f in

tern

a-tio

nal

and b

ord

er c

on-

flic

ts, pea

ce-m

akin

g an

d p

eace

-kee

pin

g

4. S

ince

th

e 19

80s

A. W

orld s

yste

ms

and ter

rito

rial

iden

titie

s

Bord

er s

tudie

s at

diffe

rent

inte

r-re

late

d lev

els

dep

endin

g on the

evo-

lutio

n o

f te

rrito

rial

iden

-tit

ies

and the

role

of a

bord

er in the

hie

rarc

hy

of polit

ical

bord

ers

as a

w

hole

Model

ing

of re

latio

ns

bet

wee

n b

ord

ers

and

the

hie

rarc

hy

of te

rrito

-rial

iden

titie

s

A. Paa

si (

Finla

nd);

D.N

ewm

an (

Isra

el);

J.O

’Lough

lin (

USA

);

P.Tay

lor

(Gre

at

Brit

ain)

;, T. L

unde

n (S

wed

en); G

. Wat

erbu

rry

and

J. A

ckle

son (

Gre

at

Brita

in)

and o

ther

s

Use

of bord

er p

roble

ms

and c

onflic

ts in n

atio

n-

and s

tate

-build

ing;

princi

ple

s of bord

er

polic

y an

d c

ooper

a-tio

n; cr

eatio

n a

nd

stre

ngt

hen

ing

of

euro

regi

ons

and o

f oth

er tra

nsb

oundar

y re

gions

B. G

eopolit

ical

appro

aches

B1.

Impac

t of g

lobal

izat

ion

and inte

grat

ion o

n

polit

ical

bord

ers

Rep

rese

nta

tions

about

pro

cess

es o

f ‘d

e-te

rri-

torial

isat

ion’ a

nd ‘r

e-te

rrito

rial

isat

ion’ (

re-

dits

ributio

n o

f fu

nc-

tions

bet

wee

n b

ord

ers

of diffe

rent le

vels

and

types

) an

d a

bout th

e ev

olu

tion o

f the

syst

em

of polit

ical

and a

dm

in-

istrat

ive

bord

ers

B2.

Bord

ers

from

the

per

spec

tive

of m

ilita

ry,

polit

ical

etc

. se

curity

Rol

e of

bor

ders

in s

ecur

iti-

satio

n of

cou

ntrie

s an

d re

gion

s; s

epar

atio

n of

trad

ition

al a

nd p

ost-

mod

ern

repre

sent

atio

ns

abou

t thi

s ro

le; s

tudi

es

of th

e in

fluen

ce o

f ge

o-pol

itica

l cul

ture

on

func

-tio

ns o

f bo

rder

s in

the

field

of se

curit

y

(Contin

ued

)

Page 5: Kolossov - Border Studies

610

TA

BLE

1 (

contin

ued

)

Stag

e/per

iod

Dom

inan

t ap

pro

aches

an

d m

ethods

The

conte

nt of a

stag

eThe

mai

n c

once

pt an

d

achie

vem

ents

Lead

ing

auth

ors

Pra

ctic

al a

pplic

atio

ns

C. Bord

ers

as

soci

al r

epre

senta

-tio

ns

Bord

ers

as s

oci

al

const

ruct

s an

d a

mirro

r of so

cial

rel

atio

ns

in

pas

t an

d p

rese

nt;

bor-

der

s’ r

ole

as

a so

cial

sy

mbol an

d im

portan

ce

in p

olit

ical

dis

cours

e

Appro

aches

to the

study

of bord

ers

as a

n

importan

t el

emen

t of

ethnic

, nat

ional

and

oth

er ter

rito

rial

id

entit

ies

D. The

‘pra

ctic

e–polic

y–per

ceptio

n’

appro

ach

Rel

atio

ns

bet

wee

n the

polic

y det

erm

inin

g th

e tran

spar

ency

of a

bord

er, its

per

ceptio

n

by

peo

ple

and the

pra

ctic

e of ac

tiviti

es

rela

ted w

ith this

bord

er

Influen

ce o

f bord

er

polic

y, p

ract

ice

and

per

ceptio

ns

on the

man

agem

ent of bor-

der

reg

ions

and b

ord

er

cooper

atio

n

H. va

n H

outu

m

and O

. K

ram

sch

(The

Net

her

lands)

; J. S

cott (

Ger

man

y)

Man

agem

ent of bord

er

regi

ons

and b

ord

er

cooper

atio

n; re

gula

tion

of in

tern

atio

nal

mig

ra-

tions

and o

f oth

er tra

ns-

boundar

y flow

s;

regi

onal

polic

yE. Eco

polit

ical

Rel

atio

nsh

ips

bet

wee

n

nat

ura

l an

d p

olit

ical

bord

ers

Funct

ions

of nat

ura

l an

d

polit

ical

bord

ers

as a

in

tegr

ated

sys

tem

and

man

agem

ent of tran

s-boundar

y so

cio-e

nvi

-ro

nm

enta

l sy

stem

s

O. Y

oung,

G. W

hite

(b

oth

USA

); N

. K

liot

(Isr

ael); S.

Dal

by

(Can

ada)

, S.

Gors

hko

v an

d L

. Kory

tny

(Russ

ia)

and m

any

oth

ers

Stat

e of gl

obal

and

regi

onal

envi

ronm

en-

tal pro

ble

ms;

man

age-

men

t of in

etrn

atio

nal

rive

r bas

ins,

etc

.

Page 6: Kolossov - Border Studies

Changing Perspectives and Theoretical Approaches 611

geography of border regions emerged from numerous case studies andapplied researches related to boundary allocation, delimitation and demarcationthat took place after the First World War. Its main achievements consist,first, of the combined study of borders in space and time, focusing on the for-mation and stability of the border-line. Second, we have the relationsbetween the functions of the boundary and the political regime and foreign-policy orientations of neighbouring states, which were analysed in depth forthe first time. As the well-known French geographer Jacques Ancel noticed in1938, ‘ce n’est pas le cadre qui importe, mais ce qui est encadré’ (‘it is not theframe which matters but what is framed’).6 Thus, it was then shown that bor-der studies have an interdisciplinary nature. Third, it was proved that a deeprelationship exists between the regime, the functions and sometimes even themorphology of the boundary, and the balance of the economic, political andmilitary might of neighbouring countries. A stronger state often imposed theline and the functions of the boundary upon its weaker neighbour. Fourth, itwas extremely important that experts came to the conclusion that it was notpossible to establish or reach ‘natural’ boundaries matching physical limitslike mountain ranges, or large rivers, nor to set boundaries perfectly coincid-ing with ethnic delimitations. Fifth, geographers demonstrated the possiblepolitical implications and use of careful studies and the mapping of borderregions. Sixth, the concepts of ‘frontier’ and ‘border’ were defined.

Countless typologies of political boundaries have had as long history astheir mapping. Geographers and politicians have distinguished numeroustypes of boundary by their morphology, natural features, origin, history and‘age’, historical circumstances of allocation and delimitation (for example,post-war, colonial, imposed, etc.), and functions. They have also tried tocombine various characteristics of boundaries and their classifications haveled to useful generalisations. These have contributed to a better understand-ing of, on the one hand, the impact of the physical and social characteriticsof a region and the history and politics of neighbouring states on theboundary’s allocation and delimitation and, on the other, of the boundary’sinfluence on human life and the physical and social landscape.

Knowledge gained from the historical mapping and typologies ofboundaries was widely applied to the allocation and the delimitation of thecolonial possessions of the European powers and of international bound-aries after the First World War. The European concept of the boundary as astrictly defined line was imposed on regions in Asia and Africa that hadnever known it before.

Several generations of researchers began to develop the functionalapproach, mainly in the period after the Second World War. Special atten-tion was paid to the functions of boundaries and to the political and territo-rial factors that determine them. The works of John House, who suggestedan operational and efficient model for the study of trans-boundary flows,7

brought this approach to maturity. Usually it accepts the allocation of a

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612 Vladimir Kolossov

boundary as a given reality and focuses on its permeability for various pur-poses and on its impact on economy and society. The main practical appli-cation of the functional approach was cross-boundary cooperation and themanagement of social processes in border areas.

The political approach to border studies was created mainly by politicalscientists.8 In recent times they have studied the relationships between themain paradigms of international relations and the functions of state bound-aries. In the ‘realistic’ paradigm, the states are perceived as the most importantactors on the international scene, and boundaries between them are inter-preted as strict dividing lines protecting state sovereignty and national secu-rity. According to ‘liberal’ views, states are not the only and sometimes noteven the major political actors, and the principal function of state boundariesis to connect neighbours and to enable various international interactions.Therefore, it is necessary to eliminate territorial disputes and border conflictand to develop cross-boundary communications and infrastructure.

Finally, the global paradigm pays special attention to international networksconnecting all kinds of economic and political actors – state and non-state. Dueto the development of networks, state boundaries are being gradually trans-formed into virtual lines and are being replaced by economic, cultural andother boundaries.9

Despite the accumulation of abundant information and important theo-retical publications,10 border studies have, until recently, suffered from alack of theoretical reflection. Traditional approaches explained the phenom-enon of state borders first of all by political factors, interpreting them as amirror of the neighbouring states’ military, economic and political power.The essence of states, their policy and their hierarchical relations at the glo-bal and macro-regional levels were seldom taken into account. States wereconsidered as given realities, or ‘natural’ regions, acting as an integral entity.Such a view of space is typical of traditional positivist positions. From thepositivist perspective, space is analysed as an independent object that influ-ences social phenomena through a system of causal links. In practice, acountry’s borders and internal administrative boundaries have always beenconsidered separately, corresponding to a strict separation of studies oninternational and domestic policy.

Over time, it became clear that boundaries cannot be studied merely atthe national level and the situation in the border zone cannot be explainedonly in terms of a boundary between two countries. On the one hand, supra-national organisations play a more significant role than earlier. On the other,economic globalisation and unification of cultures are awakening regionalconsciousness, which often contributes to the development of separatist orirredentist movements disputing the existing system of political boundaries.

In total, despite rich historical traditions, traditional approaches becameunable to explain why, in some cases, even a small change in the state ter-ritory and its boundaries provokes a deep emotional reaction in the society,

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Changing Perspectives and Theoretical Approaches 613

leading to territorial conflict, while in other cases, new boundaries are per-ceived by public opinion as definitive and are not disputed. Traditionalapproaches could not find an answer to why some border areas, which fora long time have seemed to be peaceful, can be rapidly transformed intothe foci of conflicts and provoke bloodshed, or why governments and pub-lic opinion are often so painfully sensitive toward all questions concerningpolitical boundaries. The appearance of postmodern concepts was a naturalreaction to the methodological and analytical problems of the recentdecades.

The postmodern trend in limology emerged around the late 1980s. Itwas based on a great number of concepts proposed by political scientists,philosophers, sociologists, social psychologists etc., and is a manifestationof the increasingly interdisciplinary character of contemporary social sci-ence. As with the case of political geography as a whole, border studieswere influenced, first, by the theory of world systems developed byI. Wallerstein, P. Taylor and others, and especially by the idea of the inter-dependence and the role of spatial scales. Second in importance for borderstudies were the ideas of the structuralist theory – in the interpretation ofA. Giddens – proposing that societal and global structures leave a certainfreedom of actions within a system to each of the economic and politicalagents. Third, border studies now widely use the notions of discourse andthe social construction of space. as defined by the postmodernist theory ofM. Foucault and his followers. The postmodern tendency in border studiescan be divided into separate approaches listed in Table 1 – although, ofcourse, in a rather conventional manner. Most often, elements of differentapproaches are applied together, and the matter is only one of focus.

WORLD SYSTEMS, IDENTITY AND BORDERS

A synthesis of the world system theory and the theory of territorial identitieswas the most remarkable achievement of the studies of state borders duringthe 1990s. It is based, first, on a combined analysis of the role of a givenboundary in the whole system of world boundaries at different territorial lev-els – from global to local.11 Many geographical studies focused on the newestobjective trends in economic development – such as the deepening interna-tional division of labour and the improvement of transport and telecommuni-cations. These processes were interpreted as the creation of global networksbased on hierarchical relations of domination between centre and periph-ery.12 At the same time, theories of integration stressed the leading role ofsubjective factors in this process, like political will and political institutions.13

Economic internationalisation and the rapid growth of transboundaryflows of people, information, goods, energy (and pollutants) is accompanied byan increase in the influence of transboundary actors, delegating to international

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organisations more and more important capacities in different fields. As a result,the functions of state boundaries change, and they become more permeable.State boundaries are losing a part of their barrier functions. It is considered amanifestation of the general crisis of the Westphalian system of nation-states14

that the state passes its functions to regional and international organisations.Therefore, the external boundaries of their members acquire a new role. Eco-nomic and political groupings of states are being created along the dividinglines between civilisations and cultural areas. Besides, neighbouring countriesusually have natural common interests. No country can now be absolutely iso-lated from its neighbour. Even if bilateral relations between two neighbouringcountries are very cold, there are almost always particular common interestseither related to transit and communications, or to border rivers and/or theassessment of natural risks and the struggle against natural hazards. As there arenow no walls hermetically separating one country from another, there almostalways exist local interactions between people living along the boundary.

Second, one of the cornerstones of contemporary border studies is thestudy of the emergence and the evolution of territorial identities. The impor-tance of the boundary in the everyday life of people cannot be understoodwithout an analysis of its role in social consciousness and the people’s self-identification with territories at various levels (countries, regions, localities).This approach was backed by achievements of other social sciences, andespecially in the works of F. Barth in the field of cultural anthropology andethnology. The works of Ansi Paasi (1996), devoted to the boundarybetween Finland and Russia (the USSR),15 contributed greatly to the devel-opment of this approach in limology. They were based on the hypothesisthat nationalism, according to a happy expression of D. Harvey, is a form of‘territorial ideology’ and the basis of state-building. Nationalism always sup-poses the struggle for territory or the defence of rights to it.

Paasi showed that social representations16 in an ‘indigenous popula-tion’, together with its culture, state security, perceived or real externalthreats, historical myths and stereotypes, influenced the attitude of peopleand of the political elite to the concrete boundary.

Paasi’s studies distinguish among three views on the relationshipsbetween state and nation, which, in their turn, determine the view on theevolution of boundaries. All three relate the activity of the state to self-identification of its people with it.

Primordialists consider the state as a place where one of the principalhuman rights is realised – the right of ethnic groups to self-determination, aswell as being a means to achieve this objective. The primordial view is, infact, at the basis of the concept of the nation-state. In such a state, the mor-phology and the functions of boundaries depend on the loyalty of citizens –in other words, on the ethnic and political identity of the population onboth sides of the boundary, because most countries of the world are multi-ethnic, and few ethnic groups have their own individual statehood.

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According to the structuralist theory, in the interpretation of A. Giddens,the state is a container of power. Under the conditions of globalisation, ittries to widen its influence in order to control external factors relevant toits activity. These actions require legitimisation by citizens and the strength-ening of their political identity. But no state can control powerful globalfactors; even the largest states are forced to respect international law, atleast to some degree, and thus to relinquish some part of theirsovereignty.17

Neoliberals also stress that the boundaries of any state are too limited tocope with global economic, environmental and other problems. Therefore,no state can reach or maintain a satisfactory level of its citizens’ well-beingin isolation. Moreover, global and macro-regional challenges (depressionsin world markets, environmental disasters, etc.), force many countries to usenon-democratic methods of governance. This situation decreases the legiti-macy of the state in the eyes of its citizens and accelerates the erosion of itspolitical identity, especially in border regions.18 For instance, in the Sahelcountries, droughts, desertification and famine often aggravate the social sit-uation and generate waves of refugees crossing their boundaries. As mostAfrican countries are multi-ethnic, cross-boundary flows of environmentalrefugees complicate the relationships among different national and regionalgroups of population and between neighbouring countries. Natural andsocial disasters provoke among populations living in peripheral regions adiscontent with central government, undermine a weak common (political)identity, and contribute to the creation of guerrilla movements. In theirturn, guerrilla and political instability push the governments to attempt tore-establish their control over the periphery by military, non-democraticmeans, which destabilise the situation in border areas even more . Thisvicious circle had already been described many years ago by specialists inglobal environmental problems and African countries.19

So, the problem of identity is closely related to an analysis of the func-tions of the state – defined as ‘a political-territorial unit with strictly delim-ited boundaries recognised by the international community, and withinwhich the population has a specific political identity’. It is shaped, as a rule,by the state itself and by the nationalist political elite. Territorial boundariesare one of the major elements of ethnic and political identity. The result is asimple political formula: if there is no stable political identity, there are nostable boundaries, territory, no stable state, or political unit in general.

For example, most post-Soviet states are multi-ethnic. Moreover, theidentity of their titular peoples has a strong regional component and varieswidely. Therefore, new independent states have, first, to try to cement theirtitular ethnic groups into single political nations and, second, to forge a newpolitical identity common to the whole population. However, this identitycannot depend on the ethnic background and/or the region. Several coun-tries have still failed to solve this problem. Important ethnic, cultural or

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regional strata of their populations do not share officially proclaimed values,symbols and representations about the origin of the country and its histori-cal mission, its boundaries and place in the world, ’natural’ allies or threatsto national security, etc.

This dichotomy has provoked the de facto secession of a part of theirterritory and the creation of self-proclaimed republics – such as the Transni-estrian Moldovan Republic in Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia inGeorgia, and Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaidjan. The regime of their bound-aries does not match their official status according to international law. Self-proclaimed states and territories that for decades have not been controlledby central governments exist in many regions of the world (a large part ofAfghanistan, of Columbia, the Turcic Republic of Northern Cyprus, etc.) andhave become an intrinsic element of the geopolitical world order.20 There-fore, political boundaries are now more often created first in social repre-sentations and only then are they delimited on the map. The world-systemtheory is based on a classical geographical triad ‘centre–semi-periphery–periphery’. In limology, this concept means, first, a need to study bound-aries at three territorial levels – the global, the national and the local. Sec-ond, it means that the notions of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ are relative. Forinstance, the German territory of Brandenburg is a part of the world ‘centre’.However, at the same time it is a ‘periphery’ of Germany, because its GDPper capita is considerably below the national average and because it is situ-ated far from the most developed regions of Germany and Western Europe.

Later, these three levels were complemented with two more ‘layers’ – themacro-regional and regional layers.21 A good example of a macro-regionalidentity is the self-identification of millions of people in the post-Soviet spaceas ‘Soviet’. ‘Hierarchical’ multiple identities are peculiar to many areas of thepost-Soviet space. During Soviet times, the ethnic heterogeneity in manyrepublics and regions was so high that the share of mixed marriages reachedmore than 20 per cent and in a number of large cities, even more than 30 per cent.Not surprisingly, the role of the territorial factor was clearly salient, as thecontent of the ethnic ‘cocktail’ varied strongly between towns and the coun-tryside, urbanised and rural areas, transitive cultural zones, and ‘internal’ areaswith a more homogeneous population. Specific regional territorial identitiesdeveloped according to local conditions.22 A remarkable example is the activ-ity of EU countries aimed at the creation or the strengthening of a common‘European’ political identity, though it is still relatively weak, and its contentvaries from country to country.

Integration in Europe and in other parts of the world may lead to thestrengthening of macro-regional (supra-national) identity and, respectively,to the weakening of the barrier functions of their external boundaries. How-ever, national identity is exposed to erosion not only from ‘above’ but espe-cially from ‘below’ – from inside.23 The concept of nation-state, elaboratedin the specific conditions of Western Europe in the nineteenth century,

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meant the creation of a homogeneous nation united by a common languageand culture, economic ties and a legal system, and acting within strictlydefined and safe borders. This approach cannot be applied to most states ofthe world whose population is culturally very diverse. Often, national iden-tity fails to match ethnic/regional identities. In many countries, especially inAfrica and Asia, national identity is rather weak. As a rule, a state with aweak national identity cannot well defend its land and sea boundaries, oreven fully control its territory.

The attempts to strengthen national-identity in multi-ethnic states werehindered by new tendencies in economic and cultural development, suchas, for instance, in the former Yugoslavia, in Czechoslovakia and the USSR,where ethnic/regional identities became stronger than political ones.National identity can be dramatically weakened even in highly developedand prosperous countries like Canada, Belgium and Spain. But in Europe,potential separatists cannot escape the common external boundaries of theEU, because the membership in this organisation became a necessary con-dition for the normal functioning of the economy of West- and CentralEuropean countries and because of their geographical location.

Another achievement of the world-system approach in limology was adeeper understanding of the role of the local level. Many scholars provedthat local territorial communities are not merely subservient to the influ-ence of central authorities but have themselves a considerable impact onthe real regime, the formation of identity, and on the character and theperception of the boundaries in neighbouring countries. A particular bor-der identity, based on common interests and culture, is often created inlocal territorial communities. Sometimes it is transboundary, especially ifthe populations of a border area have similar languages and culture.For example, American historian P. Sahlins showed that the population ofCerdania valley in Catalonia, divided by the boundary between Franceand Spain, has for a long time inventively manipulated its citizenship in itsown interests, considering itself neither French nor Spanish. Thus, duringthe First World War, Cerdanian men became ‘Spanish’ to avoid mobilisa-tion. Identity was based on self-identification with the local community,which successfully opposed itself to all others (‘we’–‘they’). Inhabitants ofthe valley played on differences between two notions of sovereignty –legal and territorial.24

The concept of ‘internationalist culture’ being shaped among popula-tions of border areas that profit from transboundary contacts was workedout by the American scholar Oscar Martinez on the basis of long studies ofthe US–Mexico border. This culture is characterised by increased mobilityand receptiveness to innovation. The inhabitants clearly understand whattheir interests are and are able to exist without conflict in several ‘culturalworlds’ – those of their nation-state and ethnic group, foreign cultures andthe specific culture of the border area.25

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As the hierarchy of human identities is related to territory and bound-aries, one of the main problems faced by social scientists, including borderscholars, is the obvious contradiction between the intrinsic right of peoples toself-determination with another key principle of international law – theterritorial integrity of sovereign states and inviolability of their boundaries.Nationalist movements remain a powerful force in many regions of theworld. These important factors provoke strong doubts about the reality ofthe neoliberal scenario of the evolution of the world system of bound-aries. According to this scenario, excesses of nationalism and of the inher-ent right of peoples to self-determination will be overcome bydemocratisation ‘in depth’ and ‘in large’ (the territorial diffusion of democ-racy to ‘new’ countries).26 The rapid development of cross-boundary coop-eration in most regions of the world utilising similar models also inspiresoptimism.27

Clearly, it is hardly possible to make the world borderless. The dis-course about a borderless world concerns only peaceful, ‘integrational’,open and internationally recognised boundaries, which can be foundmostly in Europe and North America. They make up no more than aboutfive per cent of the total length of the land borders of states.

The political boundary remains a considerable barrier, even in theregions where processes of integration are especially advanced. So, despitethe high dependence of the Canadian economy on the United States, thetotal trade of an ‘average’ Canadian province with other Canadian regions,weighted by size of population and per capita income, is 12 times largerthan with neighbouring American states, while the exchange of services is40 times greater. Migrations between Canadian provinces, weighted in thesame way, are 100 times more intensive than with American states acrossthe boundary.28 The same picture can be observed in the EU.29

GEOPOLITICAL APPROACHES

The Impact of Globalisation and Integration on Political Boundaries

Postmodern concepts have allowed the gap in the study of international anddomestic policy, boundaries between states and other boundaries to beovercome. Indeed, a state boundary or a municipal boundary is designed toseparate the space controlled by members of a social group or a territorialcommunity and to limit the rights to this territory of those who do notbelong to the group. Re-phrasing an expression of Benedict Anderson, it ispossible to say that any boundary looks outwards to reunite a social group,and inwards to separate it and its territory from neighbours. The problem isin redistribution of functions between boundaries of different types and lev-els under the impact of globalisation and integration, which are often calledde-territorialisation and re-territorialisation.

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Under new conditions and because of the growing mixing of differentethnic and other groups, identity is being deeply modified. More peoplehave complicated identities, associating themselves with two or several eth-nocultural groups. Cultural, linguistic, religious and socio-professional iden-tities, which are not always clearly related to a territory, are beingstrengthened. Again, this process leads to a relative weakening of national(political) identity, because people often associate themselves with the con-crete place where they live – a settlement, a municipality or a region, andwant to erect an administrative fence separating themselves from ‘others’(migrants, the poor, people of another persuasion or ethnicity, etc.).

The increasing individualism acts in the same way. People do not wantto deal with the problems of ‘others’. This attitude reinforces their alienationfrom large administrative and political units. The elite and now the middleclass wish to live in isolated, socially homogenous communities, which canbe strictly controlled (e.g., gated communities). To become a member of aprestigious small neighbourhood in a suburb is often more difficult than toobtain citizenship in a West European country or the United States. Somealmost invisible and unofficial boundaries between neighbourhoods repre-sent social barriers that are extremely difficult to overcome. Moreover, theidentity of social groups living on the opposite sides of such boundaries isbased on their separation from each other and control over their respectiveterritories.30

In the mass consciousness, the perception of external threat gives riseto the aspiration to minimise or to cease all contacts with an undesirable ordangerous neighbour. If it is impossible to get rid of him, to subordinate,control, or resettle him, the best solution will be to build a fence as a pro-tection against him. This was the strategy of states that built ‘Great Walls’ –the Chinese, the Romans, who built Hadrian’s Wall separating England andScotland, the Berlin Wall and nowadays, Israel (between Israel and thePalestinians). The survey we conducted in 2001 in the Stavropol territory(Russia) showed that the population of its eastern districts neighbouringChechnia saw the solution of the Chechenian problem in the same way:separating ‘us’ from ‘them’.31 But in the main, ‘great walls’ only aggravateconflicts. Isolation gives rise to ignorance, ignorance to fear and mistrust,and such perception of the neighbour becomes the strongest obstacle forreconciliation and a real and long-term resolution of a conflict.

Therefore, political, administrative and cultural boundaries make up asingle, integral and hierarchically organised social system.32 Bounding ofdifferent social and political communities of different hierarchical levelsshould be conceptualised as a single process.33 Elements of this system arevery stable, despite frequent changes of borders. The French philosopherO. Marcard called political boundaries ‘scars of history’. Indeed, boundarieswhich existed in the remote past can usually be easily found in the culturaland political landscape, and sometimes even remain quite visible in the

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physical landscape. For instance, the small river of Zbruch served for manydecades as a boundary between the Russian and the Austro-Hungarianempires. In the Soviet period, when the western regions of the Ukrainewere joined to the USSR, it became an administrative boundary separatingthe Ternopol region and the Khmelnitsky regions.

However, it has never been a simple administrative boundary, but acultural divide between historical regions of Ukraine – Podol and Galicia,clearly seen, for example, on electoral maps. It is enough to cross theZbruch, and the cultural landscape changes dramatically: on the Galicianside, one can see numerous chapels and crosses near the roads, templesbelonging to Catholic and Greco-Catholic churches. Rural settlements mostoften look like small Central European towns and consist of two-story build-ings sharing a wall. Such small towns were settled before the Second WorldWar, but had a predominantly Polish and Jewish population. They are verydifferent from traditional one-story white Ukrainian houses, built from claymixed with manure and straw, and situated behind small front gardens andhaving vast kitchen-gardens.

Naturally, cultural boundaries delimiting an area with a similar identitydo not always match formal (de jure) borders. Cultural (de facto) boundarieshave, first of all, external functions of contact between cultural areas, while dejure borders assume mainly internal functions, contributing to the sovereigntyand the territorial integrity of the state, as well as to the social and ethnocul-tural integration of its population. Former state borders sometimes becomeadministrative and/or cultural boundaries, and vice versa. New politicalboundaries at all hierarchical levels almost never emerge ‘from zero’ and onlyseldom cross old boundaries. Most often, cultural boundaries are transformedinto formal (de jure) borders. In their turn, former formal borders can, undercertain historical circumstances, get their official status fully or partly back,becoming again the borders of the state or province.34

Some state borders coincide with ethnic, cultural and linguistic limitsand have strong barrier functions. They can be termed frontal. Postmoderngeopolitical approaches show an inconsistency in the interpretation of suchborders as cleavages between the largest geocultural areas/civilisations.35

This situation leads to absolutisation and perpetuation of historically tran-sient cultural and political limits as seemingly ‘natural’ impermeable divides,predetermining foreign policy, separation and hostility between large mili-tary/political blocs and to the return to old geopolitics of force in the styleof the 1920s–1930s.

The Approach to Borders from the Perspective of Security

Self-identification of peoples with a determined territory has endowed itsdifferent parts with a highly symbolic meaning. They become a part ofnational and ethnic identity. Sebastopol in Russia and Kosovo in Serbia, as

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well as capitals of many countries, are such symbolic territories. As bound-aries clearly divide neighbouring regions and are designed to be the barrierseparating inhabitants of the given territory from ‘others’, mass representa-tions about them are of contrast (‘either–or’). This was especially character-istic of totalitarian regimes. In the Stalin epoch, the outside world waspictured as a continuous ‘territory of darkness’, from whence originated thethreat of war and of enslavement by imperialist countries. This representa-tion was the reason for sanctification of the borders separating ‘the socialistMotherland’ from the hostile environment (‘sacred limits of the Motherland’).36

Concepts about boundaries are closely related to the notion of nationalsecurity and the use of force by the state apparatus to ensure it. Borderareas are considered the natural location for border guards and customs ser-vices, of a high concentration of military units, especially facing directionsfrom which danger threatens in the eyes of public opinion. Security is acomplicated notion, incorporating military, economic, political, environ-mental security aspects, and so on. In the most general sense, security isunderstood as the safety of life-support systems and the absence of threatsto the life of the people and their activities. From the perspective of borderstudies, it is important to identify who is responsible for security and what isits subject – a macro-region, the state, or one or more of its parts.

The perception of security of a concrete boundary depends on itssymbolic role, historical traditions, image and contemporary discourse.For instance, in Finland, despite past conflicts, social representations aboutthe boundary with Sweden are rather positive, while the boundary withRussia is viewed as a source of illegal migrants, criminality, pollutants andother threats.37 To take another case, mutual perceptions of security are aconsiderable obstacle for cross-boundary cooperation between Russia andKazakhstan. In Russia, there is a tendency to consider the boundary withKazakhstan as a source of such major threats to national and regional secu-rity, such as the traffic in drugs, Muslim fundamentalism and terrorism, ille-gal immigration from Afghanistan and all of Central Asia, etc. In Kazakhstan,fears of support for possible Russian irredentism in regions to the north ofthe Russian territory are shared by a large part of the political elite and thetitular population.38

The traditional understanding of the role of state boundaries in nationalsecurity is based, first, on the prevention of military threat. Thus, as notedabove, border areas become militarised zones with a special regime, wherethe highest priority is the fighting efficiency of military units ready torepulse the aggression of a potential enemy.

Second, the traditional securitisation of a border zone means the largestpossible control over any transboundary flows. Karl Deutsch introduced thenotion of security communities into the debate and considered the densityof transactions as an indicator of an integration process leading to identitytransformation,39 which can be interpreted as a threat. From this perspective,

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a boundary is understood as a front line destined to stop the penetration indepth of the state territory by undesirable individuals, goods, information,etc. The control of transboundary flows is easier if there are fewer inhabit-ants in the border zone and if economic activity there is weaker. Therefore,these zones sometimes became economically backward, not only becauseof their location at the periphery of their countries and of the structural dis-proportions it provokes, but because of deliberate limitations on investmentin certain branches and of attempts to subordinate all social life to militaryneeds.

Third, one of the features of the traditional approach to the security ofstate boundaries is an attempt by state institutions to foresee and forestallany possible problems.

Fourth, the concept of the border as security fence is based on securiti-sation of the state in general, which is supposed to be a major task of thestate. It is also supposed that the security interests of border regions aresimilar to those of the state as a whole. Geoeconomy is subordinated togeopoltics. On the one hand, political leaders, who can initiate a politicaldiscourse, can transform a regional or local problem specific to a borderarea into a ‘geopolitical’ problem and a threat to national security. Forinstance, they may interpret foreign private investments there as an attemptto stimulate a secessionist movement, to colonise new lands abroad, etc.Therefore, they create difficulties in solving the particular problem at theproper level and in context. On the other hand, they are tempted to explainsocial and economic problems by blaming an inadequate boundary regime(too permeable or, on the contrary, too rigid). For example, it is easier toexplain a crisis in the textile industry of a border region by the inflow ofcheap produce across a ‘too open’ boundary, rather than by poor competi-tive ability or the lack of investment.

In postmodern studies, the functions of borders are seen in a differentway. It is stressed that the whole state territory is involved in intensive eco-nomic exchanges with other countries. Following this approach, borderregions can become locomotives for economic growth and centres of inno-vation. Transboundary systems are being shaped: urban agglomerations,industrial plants, etc. Demographic and social conditions in such regionslead to an increase in the number of inter-ethnic marriages and the changeof the ethnic structure of the population and its identity. Mutual trust deep-ens, negative secular stereotypes in the perception of the neighbouringcountry and its people, as, for example, at the border between France andGermany, begin to disappear. Under these conditions, postmodern theoristsbelieve it worthwhile to simplify or abolish traditional boundary controlsand to use modern technology as a means of remote control. For instance,the presence of drugs or the smuggling of other illicit cargo may be testedfor, without even stopping a vehicle. The objective is to find a delicate balanceamong the needs of border security, the development of cross-boundary

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cooperation, and the interests of the central governments and borderregions.

The perception of threats to national and regional security is alsochanging. It is based, first, on the assumption that it is impossible to copewith new challenges solely by the use of military, police, or paramilitaryforces. Even the most powerful armies of the world cannot adequatelycounteract illegal migration, international terrorism, the traffic in drugs andweapons, the risk of epidemics, transboundary pollution, or global environ-mental disaster.

Second, many experts are now convinced that attempts to keep grow-ing transboundary flows under control by the same old methods, as instrengthening the barrier functions of boundaries, are not only inefficientbut objectively harmful to society and the economy. On the contrary, onlyclose cooperation with neighbouring states, based on mutual trust, demilita-risation of border areas and open boundaries (desecuritisation), can bringpositive results.

Third, according to the postmodern approach to boundary security,governments should contribute to the development of cross-boundarycooperation at the level of local authorities. The central power can nolonger ignore the specific interests of border areas or create obstacles totheir cooperation. Therefore, the notion of security acquires a considerableregional dimension.40

Fourth, a systematic approach to the defence of boundaries is beingworked out. This approach requires national security to be defendedthroughout the territory of the country, and not only at its borders. Thestruggle against illegal immigration and drug trafficking cannot be reducedto defensive measures at the border. International experience shows that, atbest, a mere 5–10 per cent of the traffic in drugs can be captured at the bor-der, and almost all of it passes through official crossing points.41 Therefore,it is necessary to fight the sources of this traffic – international criminalorganisations. The fight also requires openness – the transparency of infor-mation on transboundary flows, the possibility of their international scrutinyand remote control by the use of modern technologies.42

Therefore, the concept of ‘border space’43 now embraces not only thearea along the boundary, but internal regions. The development of trans-port, international trade and communications creates boundaries deepwithin the state territory, for instance, around international airports, andspecial customs or free economic zones. The state boundary is now notmerely the line marking the limits of the state territory and territorial waters.

Contemporary boundaries are thus becoming more differentiated: theirpermeability is not the same for various flows, types or subjects of activity.The state establishes different limits for them, often following different lines. Asa result, various social groups and kinds of activity received their ‘own’ bound-aries and border zones. For the economic elite or members of international

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criminal and terrorist groupings, the strictest visa and boundary regime ishardly a serious obstacle for penetrating and even living in any state theylike. For large enterprises and especially for transnational companies, cus-toms formalities and taxes rarely play a significant role, while for small andmedium enterprises located in border areas, they become a serious obstaclestimulating them to re-orient their activity to the domestic or local market.

It should be noted here that political boundaries in the world’s oceansalso make up a complicated system including territorial waters and eco-nomic zones. In total, the world system of boundaries has evolved from sin-gle lines to multiple limits and from physical, strictly demarcated lines tocultural borders – from high barriers to lines of interaction.

Fifth, boundary security is now a matter not only of the state. It musttake into account the interests of local and international organisations andactors.

Sixth, a new view of boundary security involves not just an attempt toforesee or forestall all eventual situations (an impossibility), but the readi-ness to react to any challenge promptly and in an appropriate and flexibleway.

Naturally, it is difficult to follow postmodern recommendations in reallife. They are obstructed by the inertia of traditional views, geopoliticalculture44 and imperatives of nation- and state-building, which need thestrengthening of the symbolical role of boundaries, the character of borderspace and other factors.

BOUNDARIES AS SOCIAL REPRESENTATIONS

As it has been already noted, the functions of boundaries and sometimestheir very delineation are determined by the formation of discourse andmass representations, which have become in recent years an autonomoussubject of border studies.45 The discursive nature of boundaries is especiallyimportant when they are disputed and provoke international conflict. Oftenpolitical discourse perpetuating negative stereotypes causes the lack ofcommunication between the sides involved in such a conflict.

Discourse about borders has several different layers that never com-pletely fit. In the theory of critical geopolitics worked out by G. Toal46 andother authors, they distinguish ‘high’ and ‘low’ geopolitics. The former is afield of politicians and experts creating the concepts that they need in orderto ground and justify the actions of the state at the international level. ‘High’geopolitics is subdivided into the theoretical and the practical and dealsfirst of all with studies of strategic, general questions (the world order, thestructure of international relations, etc.). Its discourse concerns the place ofthe country in the world, the system of international boundaries and espe-cially frontal boundaries. ‘Low’ geopolitics is a set of geopolitical concepts,

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symbols and images in the media, advertising, cinema, cartoons, etc. It isone basis of the world geopolitical vision – a necessary element of ethnicand political identity, and a tool of state-building. This world geopoliticalvision consists of representations of the relationship between different ele-ments of political space, national security and threats to it, advantages andshortcomings of a certain strategy in foreign relations, and so on. The worldgeopolitical vision also includes representations about the territory of theethnic group or political nation, its boundaries, preferable models of thestate, historical mission and forces preventing its realisation.47 This vision isa product of national history and culture, a synthesis of views professed bydifferent strata of the political elite, academic experts, the creative intelligen-tsia and public opinion as a whole.48 To legitimate its activity, the govern-ment needs ‘high’ and ‘low’ geopolitics to match, to the largest possibleextent.

Geopolitical discourse is formed by both politicians and media, and bythe system of education and mass culture. The functions and importance ofboundaries in the life of the state and society are a subject of discussion andcompromise, the role of boundaries being differently interpreted by varioussocial groups. Social representations about boundaries constitute an ele-ment of ethnic and political identity. For example, for the post-Communistgovernments of Central and East-Europe, it was important to represent theirboundaries as limits between the West and the East; first, at the global level,as boundaries of Europe; next, at the macro-regional level, as the ‘historical,native’ boundaries of their ethnic groups; and finally, by way of contrast, atthe local level,49 the result of wise though painful compromises in the nameof international stability.

An analysis of geopolitical discourse also helps to identify the limits ofthe so-called informal regions existing in representations by political leadersand public opinion (for instance, ‘Northern Europe’, ‘Central Europe’, the‘Muslim World’, etc.).50

THE ‘POLICY–PRACTICE–PERCEPTION’ (PPP) APPROACH

The ‘PPP’ approach appeared only recently and represents an attempt tosynthesise the latest theoretical achievements with traditional approachesthat have not lost their practical value – in particular, the functionalapproach. From this perspective, the boundary is not simply a legal institu-tion designed to ensure the integrity of state territory, but a product of socialpractice (in the terms of H. Lefebvre), the result of a long historical and geo-political development, and an important symbolical marker of ethnic andpolitical identity.

This approach integrates analyses at different spatial levels, first, of thepractice related to transboundary flows and developed under the influence

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of the border. The focus is on informal transboundary networks in business,local authorities, NGOs, etc. The scale, form and objectives of this activitydepend on the understanding, by the state, supra-national and regionalactors, of national security and of the role played by the given boundary.Border activity is determined by the boundary regime, which, in its turn, hasan influence on it.

Second, border policy is considered at different levels, such as thestate, international, institutional and legal infrastructures ensuring trans-boundary flows and determining the relationship between the barrier andcontact functions of the boundary – in other words, the degree of its perme-ability. This infrastructure is usually a mirror of the strategies of the state,the border regions and local authorities and includes the tools designed tostimulate and to limit border activities, and to regulate processes of external(transboundary) and internal territorial integration.

Third, PPP researchers study the perception of the boundary, i.e., thecharacter, the evolution and the channels of influence of social representa-tions on the boundary/border regions, on relations between neighbouringstates and regions, cross-boundary cooperation and ‘high’ and ‘low’ geopo-litical discourse.51 Border activities and the perception of the boundary andborder institutional and legal infrastructures are thus seen as interdepen-dent: the primacy of any of these three elements of the analysis is a ‘chickenor egg’ question.

The theory of human behaviour in border areas is close to the ‘PPP-approach’.52 It is also related to the functional theory of John House53 andto postmodern approaches. According to this theory, the boundary limitsthe freedom of people’s movements according to rationale and conditions.As a result, the area of human life cycles also changes. In the ideal case, ithas the shape of concentric circles reflecting the weakening of an individ-ual’s contacts as the distance from his home increases. The shape and sizeof this area also depends on sex, age, education, socio-professional status,the development of transport, political and legal factors, etc. In borderareas, under the influence of the boundary’s barrier functions, this areaappears to be quite different from its perception in centre of the state terri-tory. The impact of the boundary depends strongly on the level of education.‘Intellectuals’, or ‘white collar workers’ (teachers, journalists, professionals,functionaries, etc.) are closer related to jobs in the state apparatus anddepend on public authorities. The pattern of their life cycle changes moreunder the influence of a political boundary, as compared to less educatedpeople.

External factors include socio-economic conditions (economic develop-ment, prices in the markets of labour, goods and capital, the state of trans-portation, the diffusion of media, etc.), as well as administrative and legalrestrictions. Territorial restrictions, mental maps and values of people sharedby an individual and by his socio-territorial group as a whole, can be classified

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as internal factors. An important place among them is held by ethnicand national identity, i.e., the self-association of people with interests oftheir ethnic group, citizens of their state and inhabitants of their region orneighbourhood.

ECOPOLITICAL APPROACH

It is well known that natural processes do not recognise socio-politicalboundaries. Mountains, river basins, areas of birds or fish, monuments ofnature, internal seas and other natural regions are very often divided bypolitical and administrative boundaries. Mineral deposits are also oftenshared by two or several political units. At the same time, integrated naturalregions create paths for the diffusion of pollutants in air and water. Theawareness of global and regional environmental problems strongly stimu-lates international cooperation, including cross-boundary cooperation.54

There is a powerful branch of social science studying transboundary envi-ronmental/political problems, which is being developed mainly by politicalscientists, specialists in international relations and physical geographers(only few names from a long possible list are quoted in Table 1).

Discussion of these problems is far beyond the limits of this paper. Letus indicate only one direction – the river basins approach. It allows socio-and physical-geographical analyses to be integrated, in order to contributeto the solution of many international conflicts and to work out new princi-ples for environmental management. River basins represent closely inte-grated natural regions, while at the same time, they constitute a basis ofsettlement and transportation systems, and often determine boundariesbetween historically created territorial and cultural communities.55 But prob-lems of the use of their waters, energy and biological resources are a classicreason for international and border conflicts.

CONCLUSION

Border studies are a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field facing newchallenges. First, from the quantitative perspective, the number of bound-aries has recently increased because of disintegration of the Soviet Unionand of some other countries, and the partition of part of the world’s oceans.The collapse of the Soviet empire removed important ideological and geo-political obstacles to the involvement of a large part of the world in interna-tional economy. Dozens of territorial (boundary) claims continue to poisoninternational relations, even if they are often in a latent form and not yetbrought to the official level.

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Second, under the influence of globalisation and integration, the func-tions of boundaries and borders are being rapidly changed, creating a situa-tion that demands careful analysis. The impacts of these factors are socomplicated and diversified that they are far from sufficiently clear. Globali-sation and liberalisation of economies, the development of new technolo-gies and communications, the growing well-being and the awareness ofcross-boundary and global environmental problems, are all stimulating agradual evolution of state boundaries from alienating to open, integrationalforms. This evolutionary trend is also explained by the increasing interna-tional awareness of global environmental, energy and other problems, andof the importance of international cooperation. Under these conditions, itmay become easier to find solutions to border conflicts on the basis of inter-national law. A number of contradictions could be overcome as a result ofthe separation of the economic and ideological functions of boundaries.

The improvements in international transport and in the quality and den-sity of telecommunications networks are modifying economic space, increas-ing the importance of hubs like world cities, maritime gateways and logisticcentres. On the one hand, they often deepen territorial contrasts withincountries, provoke the growth of the barrier functions of internal boundariesand blur the difference between political (international) and administrative(internal) dividing lines. However, on the other hand, they also contribute tocross-boundary cooperation, which is at the same time a result and a reasonfor the growing permeability of political boundaries. The study of new direc-tions and technologies under various geographical, social and political con-ditions, including economic, cultural and psychological aspects, spatialplanning etc., may become a separate interdisciplinary field.

New postmodern approaches successfully complement traditionalmethods of border study, considering boundaries and cross-boundary inter-actions at different levels (from the global to the local) and as a single sys-tem. Moreover, recent publications show that the scale of analysis is notnaturally determined, but represents a social construct and can be used todefine the object and the scope of a conflict.56 Postmodern approaches helpus to understand how a political discourse can define the position and roleof particular boundaries and borders in foreign and domestic politics andthus enable critical thinking about political choices.

However, the dynamics of the world system of boundaries are far fromlinear, nor do they simplify combinations of geographical situations. On thecontrary, de-territorialisation and re-territorialisation sharply multiply thevariety of neighbouring countries and regions and, as a result, create count-less new types of boundaries. Of course, globalisation does not guarantee apeaceful resolution of territorial disputes, especially in Africa, Asia and LatinAmerica. For instance, in Africa the potential for border conflicts is charac-terised by the fact that about 42 per cent of the total length of land bound-aries are drawn by parallels, meridians and equidistant lines, without any

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consideration of social realities. Thirty-seven percent of land boundarieswere imposed on African countries by British and French colonial powers,who cared only about dividing lines between them.57

Postmodern approaches reveal new dimensions of globalisation. Theiruse helps the analysis of the relationships among globalisation of economicexchanges, international migrations and a rapid transformation of territorialidentities, and of people’s concepts of boundaries, border areas andnational security. New methods have demonstrated that the same processesare viewed differently in different countries and regions, and perceptionscan play a major role in economic and political decision-making concerningboundaries and borders. Globalisation often provokes a defensive reactionand strengthens ethnic and national or regional identities, which, in turn,contribute to the reinforcement of border regimes.

One of the main methodological challenges remains the separation ofthe impact of general problems on a boundary from specific border issues.Indeed, are the physical line, the regime and the importance of particularstate boundary for society a mere reflection of national or geopolitical prob-lems – such as the struggle of an ethnic group for self-determination, or therivalry between major international and regional powers? Obviously, spacemodifies the influence of political processes on border areas and bound-aries, but its mechanisms are still not very well understood.

NOTES

1. E. Brunet-Jailly, ‘Toward a Model of Border Studies’, Journal of Borderland Studies, SpecialNumber, The Canadian Border: A transparent border?, 19/1 (spring 2004) pp.1-18.

2. Y. Lacoste, La géographie, ça sert d’abord à faire la guerre (Paris: Maspéro 1976).3. See, for instance, D.B. Knight, ‘Humanistic Political Geography?’, in S. Mackenzie (ed.), Human-

ism and Geography (Ottawa: University of Carleton Press 1986), pp.22-9; C. Flint, ‘Changing Times,Changing Scales: World Politics and Political Geography since 1890’, in G. Demko and W.B. Wood(eds), Reordering the World, 2nd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press 2001).

4. On the relations between political geography and political science, see D. Newman, guest edi-tor, Forging a Cross-boundary Discourse: Political Geography and Political Science, Special Issue, PoliticalGeography 18/8 (November 1999).

5. For a characteristic view of traditional approaches, see V. Kolossov and J. O’Loughlin, ‘NewBorders for New World Orders: Territorialities at the Fin-de-siècle’, GeoJournal 44/3 (1998, pp.259-73;V.A. Kolossov and R.F. Turovsky, ‘Sovremennye gosudarstvennye granitsy: novye funktsii v usloviakhintegratsii i progranichnoe sotrudnichestvo’ (Contemporary state borders: new functions under the con-ditions of integration and border cooperation), Izvestia RAN, geographical series, 1998, No.1, pp.97-107(in Russian); V. Kolossov and N. Mironenko, Politicheskaya geografia i geopolitika (Political Geographyand Geopolitics) (Moscow: Aspekt-Press 2001) (in Russian).

6. Quoted from J.R.V. Prescott, The Geography of Frontiers and Boundaries (Chicago: Aldine Pub-lishing Company 1965), p.3.

7. J. House, Frontier on the Rio Grande: A Political Geogrpahy of Development and Social Depriva-tion (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1982).

8. See, for instance, G. Goertz and P.F. Diehl, Territorial Changes and International Conflicts(New York: Routledge 1992) and H. Starr and B. Most, Inquiry, Logic, and International Politics (Columbia:University of South Carolina Press 1989).

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9. A. Moraczewska, ‘The Changing Interpretation of Border Functions in International Relations’,Geopolitic, 10 (2005) (forthco ming).

10. See, for instance, L. Kristoff, ‘The Nature of Borders and Boundaries’, Annals of the Associationof American Geographer, 49 (1959, pp.269-82; J. Minghi, ‘Boundary Studies in Political Geography’,Annals of the Association of American Geographers 53 (1963) pp.407-28; Dennis Rumley and Julian Minghi(eds), The Geography of Border Landscapes (Routledge: London 1991).

11. J. Ackleson, ‘Metaphors and Community on the US-Mexican Border: Identity, Exclusion, Inclu-sion and “Operation Hold the Line”’, Geopolitics 4/2 (1999), pp.155-79; J. Agnew, ‘Bordering Europe andBounding States: the ‘Civilizational’ Roots of European National Boundaries’, in D. Kaplan and J. Hakli(eds), Borderlands and Place (Boston: Rowman and Allenheld 2001); V. Kolossov and J. O’Loughlin,‘New Borders for New World Orders’ (note 5); D. Newman, ‘Into the Millennium: the Study of Interna-tional Boundaries in an Era of Global and Technological Change’, Boundary and Security Bulletin 7/4(1999) pp.63-71.

12. P.J. Taylor and C. Flint, Political Geography, World-economy, Nation-State and Locality, 4th ed.(Harlow: Prentice Hall-Longman 2000).

13. M. Anderson, Territory and State Formation in the Modern World (Cambridge: Polity Press1996); J. Macmillan and A. Linklater (eds), Boundaries in Question: New Directions in International Rela-tions (London and New York: Frances Pinter 1995).

14. M. Albert, ‘On Boundaries, Territory and Postmodernity’, Geopolitics 3/1 (1998) pp.53-68;G.H. Blake, ‘Borderlands under Stress: some Global Perspectives’, in M. Pratt and J. Brown (eds),Borderlands Under Stress (London: Kluwer Law International 2000), pp.1-160; S. Brunn, ‘A Treaty of Siliconfor the Treaty of Westphalia? New Territorial Dimensions of Modern Statehood’, Geopolitics 3/1 (1998)pp.106-31; D. Newman, ‘The Lines that Separate: Boundaries and Borders in Political Geography’, inJ. Agnew and G. Toal (eds), A Companion to Political Geography (Oxford: Blackwell 2002).

15. A. Paasi, Territories, Boundaries and Consciousness: The Changing Geographies of the Finnish-Russian Border (New York: John Wiley 1996).

16. Social representations are a set of concepts, statements and explanations originating in dailylife in the course of inter-individual communications (Moscovici, quoted from Paasi (note 15)).

17. A. Giddens, The Nation State and Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1981);P.J. Taylor, ‘The State as Container: Territoriality in the Modern World-System’, Progress in HumanGeography 18 (1994) pp.151-62.

18. M. Pratt and J. Brown (eds), Borderlands Under Stress (London: Kluwer Law Academic 2000);J. Prescott, ‘Borders in a Borderless World: Review Essay’, Geopolitics 4/2 (1999).

19. See, for example, Our Common Future: World Commission on Environment and Development(Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press 1987); World Resources 1987 (New York: Basic Books1987).

20. V. Kolossov and J. O’Loughlin, ‘Pseudo-states as Harbingers of a New Geopolitics: the Exam-ple of the Trans-Dniestr Moldovan Republic’, in D. Newman (ed.), Boundaries, Territory and Post-Modernity (London: Frank Cass 1998), pp.151-76.

21. Ibid.; D.Newman and A. Paasi, ‘Fences and Neigbours in the Post-modern World: BoundaryNarratives in Political Geography’, Progress in Human Geography 22/2 (1998) pp.186-207.

22. V. Kolossov, ‘Ethnic and Political Identities and Territorialities in the post-Soviet Space’, Geo-Journal 48 (2000) pp.71-81.

23. D. Delamaide, The New Superregions of Europe (Harmoondsworth: Penguin Books 1994).24. P. Sahlins, Boundaries: The Making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees (Berkeley, CA: Uni-

versity of California Press 1989).25. O.Martinez, Border People: Life and Society in U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Tucson, AZ: University

of Arizona Press 1994).26. K. Ohmae, The End of the Nation State: The Rise of Regional Economies (New York: Free Press

1995); Prescott (note 18).27. Wu Chung-Tong, ‘Cross-border Development in Europe and Asia’, Geojournal 44/3 (1998)

pp.189-201; H. Eskelinen, I. Liikanen and J. Oksa, Curtains of Iron and Gold, Reconstructing Bordersand Scales of Interaction (Aldershot: Ashgate 1999); H. Knippenberg and J. Markusse, Nationalising andDenationalising European Border Regions, 1800–2000 – Views from Geography and History (Boston,MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999); M. Perkmann and N.L. Sum, Globalization, Regionalization andCross-border Regions (London: Mac Millan 2002).

28. J. Helliwell, How Much Do National Borders Matter? (New York: Brookings Institution Press 1998).

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29. N. Cattan, ‘Une image du réseau des métropoles européennes par le trafic aérien’, Espacegéographique 2 (1991) pp.105-12; N. Cattan, ‘Effets de barrières en Europe: le cas des échangesaériens et ferroviaires’, Communications, géographie politique et changement global (Paris: CNRS1993), pp.24-40.

30. D. Newman, ‘Boundaries, Territory and Postmodernity: towards Shared or Separate Spaces?’,in M. Pratt and J. Brown (eds), Borderlands Under Stress (London: Kluwer Law International 2001),pp.17-34.

31. V. Kolossov, T. Glakina and A. Krindatch, ‘Territorial Identity and Inter-ethnic Relations (TheCase of Eastern Districts of Stavrpopol Territory’), Polis (Political Studies) 11 (2001) pp.61-78.

32. V. Kolossov and J. O’Loughlin, ‘New Borders for New World Orders’ (note 5).33. Newman, ‘The Lines that Separate’ (note 14).34. V. Kolossov and N. Mironenko (note 5).35. J. Galtung, ‘Coexistence in Spite of Borders: On the Borders in the Mind’, in W. Galluser (ed.),

Political Boundaries and Coexistence (Bern: Peter Lang 1994), pp.5-14.36. V.A. Kolossov (ed.), Mir Glazami Rossian: Mify i Vneshniaya Politika’ (The World in the Eyes

of Russian Citizens: Myths and Foreign Policy) (Moscow: FOM 2003).37. Paasi (note 15); P. Aalto, ‘A European Geopolitical Subject in the Making? EU, Russia and the

Kaliningrad Question’, Geopolitics 7/3 (2002) pp.143-74; Heikki Eskelinen, ‘Cooperation across the Lineof Exclusion: the 1990s Experience at the Finnish-Russian Border’, European Research in Regional Sci-ence (Borders, Regions and People) 10 (2000) pp.137-50; V. Harle, The Enemy with a Thousand Faces:The Tradition of the Other in Western Political Thought and History (Westport, CT: Praeger 2000).

38. S.V. Golunov, Rossiisko-Kazakhstanskaia Granitsa: Problemy Bezopasnosti i Mezhdunarod-nogo Sotrudnichestva (The Russian-Kazkhstani Boundary: Problems of Security and International Coop-eration) (Volgograd: University of Volgograd Press 2005).

39. K.W. Deutsch, Nationalism and its Alternatives (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univeristy Press1969); K.W. Deutsch, Political Community of the International Level: Problems of Defintion and Measure-ment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1970).

40. K. Laitinen, ‘Post-Cold War Security Borders: a Conceptual Approach’, in E. Berg and H. VanHoutum (eds), Routing Borders Between Territories, Discourse and Practices (Aldershote: Ashgate 2003),pp.13-34.

41. L.B. Vardomsky and S.V. Golunov (eds), Prozrachnye Granitsy: Bezopasnost i SotrudnichetsvoV Poyase Novykh Grnits Rossii (Transparent Borders: Security and Cooperation in the Belt of New Bor-ders of Russia) (Moscow: NOFMO 2002).

42. K. Laitinen, ‘The Northern Dimension in the Context of the Security Border’, in S. Moisio, ‘EUEligibility, Central Europe, and the Invention of Applicant State Narrative’, Geopolitics 7/3 (2002) pp.89–116; P. Joenniemi and J. Viktorova (eds), Regional Dimensions of Security in Border Areas and EasternEurope (Tartu University Press: Tartu 2001).

43. Border space is a socio-geographical area of the most active interactions and conflicts betweeneconomic, cultural, legal and political systems of neigbouring countries.

44. Geopolitical culture represents traditions of interpretation of international events according tonational identity and the strategy of interaction with other states. Russian geopolitical culture includes,for example, geopolitical traditions of ‘westernism’and ‘eurasianism’ in their numerous versions. SeeG. Ó Tuathail,‘Geopolitical Structures and Geopolitical Cultures: towards Conceptual Clarity in the Criti-cal Study of Geopolitics’, in L. Tchantouridze (ed.), Geopolitical Perspectives on World Politic, BisonPaper 4 (Winnipeg, ON: Centre for Defence and Security Studies 2003); J. O’Loughlin, G. Ó Tuathail andV. Kolossov, ‘Russian Geopolitical Storylines and Ordinary Russians in the Wake of 9-11’, Communistand Post-Communist Studies 37 (2004) pp.281-318.

45. See, for instance, E. Berg and H. Van Houtum (eds), Routing Borders Between Territories, Dis-course and Practices (Aldershote: Ashgate 2003).

46. G. Toal, Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space (Minneapolis, MN: Universityof Minnesota Press 1996).

47. G. Dijkink, National Identity and Geopolitical Visions: Maps of Pride and Pain (London:Routledge 1996); Taylor and Flint (note 12).

48. V.A. Kolossov, ‘Traditsionnye geopoliticheskie kontseptsii i sovremennye vyzovy Rossii’ (Tra-ditional geopolitical concepts and contemporary challenges to Russia), Obchshestvennye nauki i sovre-mennost (Social Sciences and Modernity) 3 (1996) pp.57-69.

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49. E. Berg and S. Oras, ‘Writing Post-Soviet Estonia on to the World Map’, Political Geography, 19(2000) pp.601-25; Moisio (note 42).

50. S. Medvedev, ‘North and the Politics of Emptiness’, paper submitted to the workshop ‘IdentityPolitics, Security and the Making of Geopolitical Order in the Baltic’, Kuusamo, Finland, June 2001.

51. J.W. Scott, ‘Euroregions, Governance and Transborder Co-operation within the EU’, EuropeanResearch in Regional Science, 10 (2000), pp.104-15; H. Van Houtum, ‘Internationalisation and MentalBorders’, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 90/3 (1999), pp.329-35.

52. T. Lunden, ‘The Domain of Time Geography. A Focus on Political Geography?’, in M. Antonsich,V. Kolossov, M.-P. Pagnini (eds), Europe Betwen Political Geography and Geopolitcs, vol. 1 (Roma: SocietaGeografica Italiana 2001), pp.269-78; T. Lunden and D. Zalamans, Boundary Towns. Studies of Communicationand Boundaries in Estonia and Its Neighbours (Stockholm: Stockholm University 2000).

53. House (note 7).54. See, for instance, O. Young (ed.).‘Global Governance. Towards a Theory of Decentralized

Workd Order’, in O.D. Young (ed.), ‘Global Governance. Drawing Insights from the EnvironmentalExperience (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press 1997), pp.273-99; P. Ganster (ed.), Cooperation,Environment, and Sustainability in Border Regions (San Diego: San Diego State University Press 2001)and many other works.

55. L. Korytny, Basseinovaya kontseptsia prirodiopolzovania (The River Basin’s Concept of Ressou-rce Use) (Irkutsk: Institute of Geography of Siberia 2001).

56. Flint (note 3).57. M. Foucher Fronts et Frontiéres: Un tour du monde géopolitique (Paris, France: Fayard 1991);

p. 691.

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