How do territorial borders influence human behaviour and thinking, and how, in turn, do citizens manage and manipulate such borders? These questions have become pressing in the current age of globalization and intensifying trans-national connections. The fall of the Iron Curtain and the disintegration of the USSR are but a few of the changes that have rendered ideas of borders as the self-evident limits of notions of society and culture problematic. At the same time, increased porosity of borders may make cultural differences more salient in everyday social and symbolic practice. Moreover, because of the tenuous relations between border dwellers and the state, border studies highlight blind spots in our understandings of concepts as society, identity, culture, ethnicity, and nation. As such, the study of borders links up with central anthropological questions. Whether dealing with ideas about purity, dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, or the (partly artificial) separation of modern society into "spheres," boundaries are being drawn, enlivened, and contested. [ Image: By Ben Siesta - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0]

    Teacher: Picture of Mathijs Pelkmans