Borders and Border Walls: Discourses of Security and (Re)Definition of Spaces

Panel Code

In a globalized world in which interdependence is viewed as a necessity and the norm, border walls appear to be obsolete manifestations of the institution of State. Nevertheless, walls have been spreading steadily since the end of the Cold War. The boom in wall-building after 9/11 actually has its roots, at least attitudinally, in the period preceding the events, for the walls derive not from a specific fear of terrorism but rather from the global insecurity bred by globalization. Paradoxically, in a security-conscious world, globalization has led not to the elimination of borders but rather to the recomposition of territory and the erection of new “ramparts”. The wall has become a solution to the quest for security of the State, the boundaries of which never truly disappeared, a solution sublimated through an increasingly security-centric discourse in the wake of 9/11, and further fueled by post-Arab Spring events.
This panel seeks to understand border walls as a global trend in International Relations. As a growing number of walls are being built along international borders and as migrants and inhabitants of those borderlands are experimenting more and more violence, we seek to understand the local perspectives and views on border fences and replace it in a multiscalar perspectives in order to see if there are alternatives to fences and security approaches. How much do they cost (both monetary and socially)? How well do they work? How are security discourses shaping the landscape to build border walls?

Chair: Frédérick Gagnon (Professor in Political Science, University of Quebec in Montreal – Canada)
Irasema Coronado (Professor in Political Science, University of Texas at El Paso – USA)
Elisabeth Vallet (Adjunct Professor in Geography, University of Quebec in Montreal – Canada), Increased violence at the border: border militarization and borderwalls in a post-9/11 era
Saïd Saddiki (Professor in Law, Al-Ain University of Science and Technology – UAE), Fortifying the Arab States' borders and Regional Subsystems
Damien Simonneau (Postdoctoral Researcher, Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles – Belgique), Comparing to dissect border walls policies. Analyses from Israel, Arizona and the Mediterranean
Umut Ozguc (ANU College of Asia and the Pacific), Border Walls as Assemblages