Posted by: Borderless Borderguard | July 12, 2007

Border is masculine

My parents were very supportive in my finding a decent issue to research and write my thesis on. Once in the afternoon I phoned them and declared:

– “I am going to write about Borders in Central Asia.”

The voice from the other side (about 3 thousand miles of distance ,what a miracle!) with an obvious disappoinment asked:

– “Why? Why do you choose such a masculine topic?”

– Why is it masculine? what makes it masculine?

– what are u going to write about? what is there to write about borders? they are there? and that is it. there is nothing to write about.
From that point on conversation got more and more complicated. It was a news of the day. The Masculinity of borders. The same comment was made by further 3 people. All in all 1 female and 3 males, all from Central Asia had the same wording: why did you choose such a masculine topic.

I started thinking about masculinity of borders. Here are some of the thought I have now, these were the aggregation of many ideas i have read, and conversations with politicians and people professionally dealing with borders in Central Asia.

Central Asian borders are perceived as masculine because they are discussed in a very

technical context (geographers, topographers, delimitation negotiations…) ;

historical context (very complicated and frustrating and sensitive history of building nations in Central Asia);

military and national security context (border check points, corruption, mines, terrorism combating, drugs smuggling);

political context (international relations, international law, sovereignty, nationality, patriotism, territorial integrity)

to sum it up, the issue is a taboo in the region [Central Asia, esp. Uzbekistan], because there are many other issues involved, which again are seen as a threat to national security or territorial integrity. these are also ethnic minorities living along the borders.

Borders are technical, military, dangerous and complicated. these are the voices i have collected so far. Honestly this discourages further attempts, but on the other hand, this is a challenge for looking into the issue from a different perspective.

PS: Quadratisch, Praktisch Gut, was the association i had: technisch, militärisch, gefährlich und kompliziert


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