SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Novak, Paolo (2017) 'Back to Borders.' Critical Sociology, 43 (6). pp. 847-864.

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Download (317kB) | Preview


What is a border? Who is a migrant? The paper uses these questions to distinguish between constructivist, Marxist and postcolonial answers provided by critical border scholarship, with three aims. First, identifying common concerns and interrogating divergent trajectories, the paper suggests that the conversation between various positions is stifled and offers a practical invitation to dialogue. Second, it evidences how critical border scholarship follows a social-to-spatial analytical trajectory to answer these questions: borders and migration function as a spatial confirmation of a pre-defined ontology of the social. As this is deemed unsatisfactory, third, the paper proposes turning this analytical trajectory on its head by going back to borders, i.e. studying the spatial manifestations of borders and migration to investigate how the social is heterogeneously configured in place-specific and embodied settings. The paper argues that What is left after these debates is the need to focus on actual social hierarchies, as opposed to epistemological ones.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Accepted version of an article published online by Sage 27 April 2016.
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 08969205
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 03 May 2016 09:44

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item