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The Politics of Borders
Sovereignty, Security, and the Citizen after 9/11


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Part of Problems of International Politics

  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316622933

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About the Authors
  • Borders sit at the center of global politics. Yet they are too often understood as thin lines, as they appear on maps, rather than as political institutions in their own right. This book takes a detailed look at the evolution of border security in the United States after 9/11. Far from the walls and fences that dominate the news, it reveals borders to be thick, multi-faceted and binational institutions that have evolved greatly in recent decades. The book contributes to debates within political science on sovereignty, citizenship, cosmopolitanism, human rights and global justice. In particular, the new politics of borders reveal a sovereignty that is not waning, but changing, expanding beyond the state carapace and engaging certain logics of empire.

    • Presents a radical new way to understand borders that reveals how contemporary borders are increasingly bi-nationally administered institutions
    • Provides a new way to understand sovereignty that is evolving alongside globalization
    • Recasts the relationship between sovereignty and security
    • Evaluates the normative challenges of cross-border collaboration, and suggests solutions in the language of citizenship
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    • Winner, 2019 The Charles Taylor Book Award, Interpretive Methodologies and Methods (IMM) Conference Group of the American Political Science Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Beautifully written, Matthew Longo's book opens our eyes to the transformation of state borders in an era of new security technologies and big data. Longo's approach is rather unique in its combination of anthropological fieldwork and normative argument. His target audience is not any academic discipline, it is citizens who want to understand the new threats to their freedom, and do something about it too.' Rainer Bauböck, European University Institute, Florence

    'Longo crosses disciplinary boundaries in order to make visible the complex realities of contemporary borders. This richly detailed and conceptually imaginative work provides a valuable critical perspective on a topic of growing importance in the modern world.' Joseph H. Carens, University of Toronto

    'Political theorists have expended much energy debating whether and how far states have the right to control movement across their borders, but have said little about what borders and border control might mean for the relationship between the state and its citizens. Matthew Longo offers a deep and powerful - and at times, disturbing - examination of this question in his important and timely study.' Chandran Kukathas, The London School of Economics and Political Science

    'Longo, an assistant political science professor at Leiden University, delivers a comprehensive study of the politics surrounding borders and border patrols, focusing on the technological advancement of and conceptual changes to security measures since 9/11. … Longo's tone is urgent throughout, as when he writes, 'This is not simply a question of citizenship and sovereignty, but at core, the future of human rights protection in a data-centric world'. Longo outlines possible solutions as well as current problems, stressing the growing necessity of 'cross-border cooperation' between the US and Canada as well as between the US and Mexico, and proposing that neighbouring countries create 'collaborative zones' to accommodate migrants and refugees seeking safety. Longo's debut, complex and impressive in its scope, signals the emergence of an important political theorist.' Publishers Weekly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316622933
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Borders: thick and thin
    Part I. The Perimeter:
    2. The wall and its shadow: security in the borderlands
    3. Co-bordering: one border, two sovereigns?
    4. A global question: co-bordering, cosmopolitanism, and the spectre of empire
    Part II. The Ports of Entry:
    5. The tiniest constable: big data, security, and the politics of identification
    6. Sovereignty, security, and the politics of trust
    7. Into the digital dark: data, the global firewall, and the future of security.

  • Author

    Matthew Longo, Universiteit Leiden
    Matthew Longo is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Leiden University. Previously, he was the Clayman Junior Research Fellow in Politics and Political Ideas at St Anne's College, Oxford. He received his Ph.D. with distinction from Yale University, Connecticut in 2014 and was awarded the American Political Science Association's Leo Strauss Award for the Best Doctoral Dissertation in Political Philosophy. His work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science and Democratization, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and has been featured in the Washington Post and National Public Radio.


    • Winner, 2019 The Charles Taylor Book Award, Interpretive Methodologies and Methods (IMM) Conference Group of the American Political Science Association

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