The shifting border

Legal cartographies of migration and mobility: Ayelet Shachar in dialogue

Author: Ayelet Shachar

The border is one of the most urgent issues of our times. We tend to think of a border as a static line, but recent bordering techniques have broken away from the map, as governments have developed legal tools to limit the rights of migrants before and after they enter a country’s territory. The consequent detachment of state power from any fixed geographical marker has created a new paradigm: the shifting border, an adjustable legal construct untethered in space. This transformation upsets our assumptions about waning sovereignty, while also revealing the limits of the populist push toward border-fortification. At the same time, it presents a tremendous opportunity to rethink states’ responsibilities to migrants. This book proposes a new, functional approach to human mobility and access to membership in a world where borders, like people, have the capacity to move.

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‘[...] The shifting border is a valuable contribution to the scholarship on migration and mobility. Shachar’s innovative framework nicely exemplifies the shift from idealised ethical debates to institutional and political analysis, without losing sight of normative questions. The compelling and clear language, and the attractive format of lead essay and responses, also makes this a useful source for non-specialists and students. Highly recommended.’
Lior Erez, University of Haifa, LSE Review of Books, June 2020
July 2020

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