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Toward an Understanding of Borderland Processes

  • Bradley J. Parker (a1)
Abstract

Although the study of frontiers is of fundamental importance to a variety of academic fields and subdisciplines, few researchers have proposed terminology, models or conceptual frameworks that allow a cross-disciplinary supra-regional comparison of frontier dynamics. In this paper I take three steps toward rectifying this situation. First, I propose a simplified lexicon that is widely applicable across disciplinary, temporal and regional divides. This lexicon is meant to be a starting point in defining boundary situations. Second, lay out a model, called the “continuum of boundary dynamics.” This model is meant to aid researchers in characterizing various types of boundary situations. And third, propose a model, called the “borderland matrix” with which to visualize the dynamic interaction between different categories of boundaries. This model is meant to aid researchers in isolating processes that occur in borderlands. It is my position that only through systematic comparisons of boundary situations at various times and locations can we hope to understand the processes that take place in borderlands. By defining and characterizing boundary situations and then isolating the processes taking place there, I believe that we will come much closer to understanding the common and unique themes that make frontier studies a central interregional and interdisciplinary subject of study.

Résumé

Aunque el estudio de fronteras es de fundamental importancia para una variedad de campos académicos y sub-disciplinas, pocos investigadores han propuesto terminología, modelos o los conceptos fundamentals que permitan una comparación supra-regional multidisciplinaria de dinámicas fronterizas. En esté ensayo yo tomo tres pasos para rectificar esta situación. Primero, propongo un léxico simplificado que sea extensivamente aplicable atravéz de disciplinas y de divisiones regionales y temporales. Esté léxico tiene el proposito de ser unpunto de partida para definir las situaciones fronterizas. Segundo, esquemar un modelo llamado “continuo de dinámicas limitantes.” El proposito de este modelo es el de ayudar a investigadores a caracterizar varios tipos limites fronterizos. Y el tercero, propone un modelo, llamado la “matriz fronteriza” con la cual se puede visualizar la interacción dinámica entre diferentes categorias de limites fronterizos. Esté modelo está diseñado para ayudar a investigadores a aislar los procesos que ocurren en zonas fronterizas. Es mi posición que sólo atravez de comparaciones sistemáticas de situaciones fronterizas, en diferentes tiempos y ubicaciones que esperamos entender los procesos que suceden en zonas fronterizas. Definiendo y caracterizando las situaciones de la frontera y aislando los procesos que suceden ahí, que vendremos mucho más cerca a entender los temas comunes y extraordinarios que hacen los estudios fronterizos un sujeto central de estudios interregionales e interdisciplinarios.

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