Ingolf Vogeler, Types of
along the U.S.-Mexico Border
The study of borders relates to nation-state formations and the relationship to surrounding ethnic and cultural groups and their territorial claims to similar places and regions. Politics are expressed in places. Literally, national and international politics are written on the landscape. National political territorialities with neighboring governments are expressed geographically along the edges of nation-states. Political geography is about state power, reflected in ever-changing political maps of struggles over space, authority, and borders.
Most commonly, borders
today are sometimes symbolic with widely dispersed concrete markers,
such as on the U.S.-Canada line, or the non-existing borders between the
countries of the European Union. International borders are usually lines
between “self-evident” states, such as Canada and the United States, or
Denmark and Germany, whose existence are presumed to reflect physical
features, historical events, or international treaties. In the past,
fortified international borders, such as the Roman and Chinese empires,
identified and delineated “barbarians” and restricted them to beyond
“civilized” places. The Cold War
in Eastern Europe and the Korean peninsula
created another set of conditions and different kinds of borders.
They were used for the first time to
keep national populations within, rather than out of, particular
nation-states. Perceived or actual
illegalities, and even hostilities, beyond borders frequently lead to
fortified and even militarized
international borders, e.g., the highly
fortified U.S.-Mexican one.