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Novak, Paolo (2018) 'Borders, distance, politics.' In: Paasi, Anssi, Prokkola, Eeva-Kaisa, Saarinen, Jarko and Zimmerbauer, Kaj, (eds.), Borderless Worlds for Whom?: Ethics, Moralities and Mobilities. London: Routledge, pp. 49-62.

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The ‘borderless world’ narrative was, perhaps, nothing more than that: a narrative associated with a specific, and specifically neoliberal, project – that of globalization in the 1990s. Yet, at the turn of the millennium, the idea that state borders were becoming less significant in a globalized world was widely shared across the academic field. Classic texts of the globalization debate deploy a similarly de-territorialized understanding of the transformations associated with neoliberalism. Whether concerned with networked societies, global cities, transnationalism, or, more broadly, with theorizing ‘new’ spatialities of globalization (Amin, 2002), these contributions privileged connections, horizontality, and circulation, over territorial boundedness, verticality, and immobility/immobilization, as explanatory tools for global transformations. In capturing and condensing into a soundbite these complex set of processes, however, Kenichi Ohmae’s (1990) book title became the strawman for those who wanted to contrast the ‘flat world’ depicted by these accounts and to re-emphasize its bordered, unequal and difference-inflected nature.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISBN: 9780429427817
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a chapter published by Taylor & Francis in Borderless Worlds for Whom?: Ethics, Moralities and Mobilities on 28 October 2018, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 17 May 2019 12:40

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