The last chapter in this volume reveals how the ‘displaced borders’ at the centre of the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, are materialized through grand buildings and monuments referring to a classical past and antiquity. This trend, which started in 2008 and is part of the ‘Skopje 2014’ project, is conditioned by the political dispute with Greece about the right to use the name ‘Macedonia’. The chapter examines the agency of size and grandeur in shaping people’s perceptions and reactions to material appearances.
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.
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?