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Olga Demetriou

Greece’s borders with Turkey have in the last decade come under increasing European scrutiny because of their use by migrants as entry points into Europe. The same has applied for the Cypriot Buffer Zone since the island’s entry to the European Union in 2004. In response, the two governments have been adopting a variety of policies to ‘stem the flow of migrants’. Many of these policies draw on the nationalist narrative, where Turkey looms large as the main aggressor against Greece. This chapter focuses on these connections and examines the role of the two borders as material structures in this discursive and physical control of migration.

in The political materialities of borders
New theoretical directions

Materiality has long been tied to the political projects of nationalism and capitalism. But how are we to rethink borders in this context? Is the border the limit where the capitalist nation-state, contested and re-created at its centre, becomes fixed? Or is it something else? Is the border something, or does it instead do things? This volume brings questions of materiality to bear specifically on the study of borders. These questions address specifically the shift from ontology to process in thinking about borders. The political materialities of borders does not presume the material aspect of borders but rather explores the ways in which any such materiality comes into being. Through ethnographic and philosophical explorations of the ontology of borders and its limitations from the perspective of materiality, this volume seeks to throw light on the interaction between the materiality of state borders and the non-material aspects of state-making. This enables a new understanding of borders as productive of the politics of materiality, on which both the state project rests, including its multifarious forms in the post-nation-state era.

Abstract only
Theorizing material and non-material mediations on theborder
Olga Demetriou and Rozita Dimova

In the first chapter, the editors analyse the link between materiality and borders as a political project that emanates from the separation between similarity and difference. To what extent is the mediation between materiality and immateriality in the various manifestations of border-making carried out through assumptions at the basis of particular forms of governance? What kinds of subjects do borders produce, and to what extent is the materiality of borders sustained or undermined by these forms of subjectivity? What are the diachronic connections and disconnections between material borders and the identities they interpellate? What kinds of structures (material and conceptual) sustain and undermine borders? In critically exploring the mediation between material and immaterial we ask what the interaction with, contemplation of, and experience of borders enables. At what horizon does agency (as corollary to power) begin to be reconstituted as a more complex but also clearer instance of state–subject relations?

in The political materialities of borders