Special Section: Patterns in Border Security: Regional Comparisons

Commonwealth & Comparative Politics | Volume 59, Issue 4 | 2021

This special issue of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics raises the prospect of trust-based determinants of security communities other than cultural similarity. The case studies in this special issue document the emergence of cross-border and transgovernmental policy and enforcement networks that facilitate policy development, implementation and alignment through coordination, cooperation, and collaboration: nascent communities coordinate, ascendant communities coordinate and cooperate but struggle to collaborate, while mature communities coordinate, cooperate, and collaborate. Specifically, pluralistic forms of communication and interactions away from the actual borderline seem to play a key role in the emergence of friendly and trustful relationships among border dyads that need not necessarily be contiguous.


Foreword by Kunio Mikuriya

Introduction by Christian Leuprecht, Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, Todd Hataley & Tim Legrand

The United States–Canada security community: a case study in mature border management by Christian Leuprecht, Todd Hataley, Kelly Sundberg, Keith Cozine & Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly

Security beyond the border: exploring Australia and New Zealand trans-Tasman relations in a globalised world by Jamie Ferrill, Germana Nicklin, Tim Legrand & Haydn McComas

The European Union’s model of Integrated Border Management: preventing transnational threats, cross-border crime and irregular migration in the context of the EU’s security policies and strategies by Johann Wagner

Between triple borders: border security across Latin America’s Southern Cone by Adriana Dorfman, Rafael Francisco França & Julian Mokwa Felix

Border security management in the MENA region: models of nascent and ascendant coordination and cooperation by Daniel Meier

Border security in Africa: the paradigmatic case of the Sahel as the embodiment of security and economy in borderlands by Thomas Cantens

So similar yet so distant: border security management between India and Pakistan as a laboratory of non-experimentation by Dhananjay Tripathi


This work was supported by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [895-2012-1022].

Special Section: Patterns in Border Security: Regional Comparisons

Patterns in Border Security: Regional Comparisons

Christian Leuprecht, Todd Hataley, Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly | Routledge | 2022

How do security communities transform into security regimes? This book compares the construction of cross-border security regimes across five regions of the world to illustrate how trust emerges from the day-to-day relations of coordination, cooperation, or collaboration. Patterns in Border Security: Regional Comparisons studies the way borderland communities develop, implement, and align border policy to enhance their sense of security. Borders have been evolving rapidly in direct response to the multifaceted challenges brought on by globalization, which has had a nuanced impact on the way borders are governed and border security is managed. Taking a methodical comparative regional approach, this book identifies and contrasts determinants of nascent, ascendant, and mature border security regimes, which the book documents in seven regional case studies from across the globe. The findings identify conditions that give rise to cross-border and trans-governmental coordination, cooperation, or collaboration. Specifically, pluralistic forms of communication and interactions, sometimes far from the actual borderline, emerge as key determinants of friendly and trustful relations among both contiguous and non-contiguous regions. This is a significant innovation in the study of borders, in particular in the way borders mediate security. For six decades international security studies had posited culture as the bedrock of security communities. By contrast, the book identifies conditions, a method, and a model for adequate and effective cross-border relations, but whose outcome is not contingent on culture.


Christian Leuprecht is Class of 1965 Professor in Leadership, Department of Political Science and Economics, Royal Military College of Canada; Director of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, Canada; Adjunct Research Professor, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security, Charles Sturt University, Australia; and Munk Senior Fellow in Security and Defence at the Macdonald Laurier Institute. A former Fulbright Research Chair in Canada-US Relations at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC (2020) and a former Eisenhower Fellow at the NATO Defence College in Rome (2019), he is a recipient of RMC’s Cowan Prize for Excellence in Research and an elected member of the College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada.  He is Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Military Journal.

Todd Hataley is Professor in the School of Justice and Community Development at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada; Adjunct Associate Professor at the Royal Military College of Canada; and a former Fulbright Research Chair in Canada-US Relations at Johns Hopkins University. He is a retired member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. During his tenure as a federal police officer, he conducted investigations into the smuggling of drugs, weapons and humans, money laundering, organized crime, national security, and extra-territorial torture investigations. His research focuses on managing of international boundaries, public safety, Indigenous policing, and transnational crime.

Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly is Professor in the School of Public Administration, Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the Jean Monnet Centre and the Borders in Globalization Laboratory at the University of Victoria, Canada. He is Editor of the Borders in Globalization Review.

Patterns in Border Security: Regional Comparisons

#11 BIG Podcast – “Security of Borders and Security of Transnational Flows”

featuring Alan Bersin – Executive Chairman of Altana AI and former U.S. Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection

Transnational flows cross borders and reveal national and international security issues. New technologies such as BIG DATA, artificial intelligence and Machine Learning are mobilized to secure the movement and circulation of data, goods and people. Border lines are no longer the main place for checks and controls. It is this paradigm shift in the analysis and governance of borders that is the subject of our discussion with Alan D. Bersin.

Les flux transnationaux traversent les frontières et révèlent des enjeux de sécurité nationale et internationale. Les nouvelles technologies comme le BIG DATA, l’intelligence artificielle et le Machine Learning sont mobilisées pour sécuriser les mouvements et la circulation des données, des biens et des personnes. Les lignes-frontières ne sont plus le lieu principal des contrôles. C’est ce changement de paradigme dans l’analyse et la gouvernance des frontières qui fait l’objet de notre discussion avec Alan D. Bersin.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and the Podcast App!

#11 BIG Podcast -

Firepower, Geopolitics and the Future: Rethinking Environmental Security

featuring Dr. Simon Dalby (BIG Senior Research Fellow)

This webinar was hosted virtually on Tuesday October 4, 2022. You can now watch the full presentation for free here!

The interconnected crises of energy, security and climate change require rethinking many aspects of modernity. The great power rivalries, accelerating climate related calamities and technological innovations reprise many of the themes first clearly articulated at the 1972 Stockholm United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Half a century later the urgency of grappling with our predicament, of only having one earth, requires redoubled efforts to link across disciplines, and in particular across the divide between natural and social sciences. Innovative formulations such as the Anthropocene are obviously needed because perpetuating the modern social order based on firepower can no longer provide security. Instead strategies to facilitate adaptation and remove institutional blockages to rapid energy innovation are a key theme for policy makers, and likewise for researchers in numerous geosciences.

Simon Dalby is a Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and Senior Research Fellow with the Borders in Globalization program at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies. He was educated at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Victoria and holds a Ph.D. from SimonFraser University. Prior to joining Wilfrid Laurier University he was Professor of Geography, Environmental Studies and Political Economy at Carleton University. He has served as co-editor of Geography Compass and Geopolitics journals, as the sustainability theme lead for the Borders in Globalization research program, and from 2012 to 2018 he was CIGI Chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. He is coeditor of Reframing Climate Change (Routledge 2016) and Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (Routledge 2019) and author of Anthropocene Geopolitics (University of Ottawa Press 2020), and Rethinking Environmental Security (Edward Elgar 2022). He has active research interests in the contemporary climate security discussion and the burgeoning debate about the Anthropocene and the implications of both for geopolitics and policy formulation.

Firepower, Geopolitics and the Future: Rethinking Environmental Security

Anthropocene Geopolitics: Globalization, Security, Sustainability

Simon Dalby | University of Ottawa Press | 2020

We now find ourselves in a new geological age: the Anthropocene. The climate is changing and species are disappearing at a rate not seen since Earth’s major extinctions. The rapid, large-scale changes caused by fossil-fuel powered globalization increasingly threaten societies in new, unforeseen ways.

But most security policies continue to be built on notions that look backward to a time when geopolitical threats derived mainly from the rivalries of states with fixed boundaries. Instead, Anthropocene Geopolitics shows that security policy must look forward to quickly shape a sustainable world no longer dependent on fossil fuels.

A future of long-term peace and geopolitical security depends on keeping the earth in conditions roughly similar to those we have known throughout history. Minimizing disruptions that would further put civilization at risk of extinction urgently requires policies that reflect new Anthropocene “planetary boundaries.”

Read Dr. Leonhardt van Efferink’s summary of Simon’s book on ExploringGeopolitics.org.

Anthropocene Geopolitics: Globalization, Security, Sustainability

Climate Change, Security and Sustainability

Simon Dalby, Susan Horton, Rianne Mahon, Diana Thomaz | Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Global Governance Challenges | 2019

Violent conflict continues to plague many parts of the developing world, with mostly deleterious consequences for peoples and places where violence occurs. The complex relationships between organized violence and sustainable development affect the ability of states and other agencies to accomplish many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular the discussion about Goal 13 on climate change now intersects with Northern security fears and policy responses that are sometimes seriously at odds with local drivers of environmental change. Contemporary analyses warn of “backdraft” effects if inappropriate policies aggravate rather than ameliorate conflict. Unravelling these complex interconnections is one key to the effective implementation of the SDGs agenda, one that is increasingly urgent as climate change accelerates, and appropriate policies are needed to deal with context-specific disruptions in many diverse places.

Dalby, Simon., Susan Horton, Rianne Mahon and Diana Thomaz. “Climate Change, Security and Sustainability.” Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Global Governance Challenges. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2019.

Climate Change, Security and Sustainability

“Anthropocene Formations: Environmental Security, Geopolitics and Disaster.”

Simon Dalby | Theory, Culture & Society | 2017

The discussion of the Anthropocene makes it clear that contemporary social thought can no longer take nature, or an external ‘environment’, for granted in political discussion. Humanity is remaking its own context very rapidly, not only in the processes of urbanization but also in the larger context of global biophysical transformations that provide various forms of insecurity. Disasters such as the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns and potentially disastrous plans to geoengineer the climate in coming decades highlight that the human environment is being remade in the Anthropocene. Humanity is now a geological actor, not just a biological one, and that insight, captured in the term Anthropocene, changes understandings of both security and environment in social thought, requiring a focus on production of environments rather than their protection. Disasters help clarify this key point and its significance for considering geosocial formations.

Dalby, Simon. “Anthropocene Formations: Environmental Security, Geopolitics and Disaster.” Theory, Culture & Society 34, no. 2-3 (2017): 233-252.

“Anthropocene Formations: Environmental Security, Geopolitics and Disaster.”

“On “Not Being Persecuted”: Territory, Security, Climate.”

Simon Dalby | Life Adrift: Climate Change, Migration, Critique | 2017

Life Adrift critically engages with two of the most defining issues of our contemporary global political economy: migration and climate change.

In their own right, both are discrete areas of politics, theory, practice, and resistance. But as climate and migration are increasingly imagined together as a singular relation, they are giving rise to new horizons of meaning in politics, philosophy, media, art and literature. Life Adrift is a collection of essays from across the interpretive social sciences and humanities which treats climate change and migration as a relation that demands theoretical and historical explanation, rather than a problem requiring technical and expert solutions. The result is a unique collection, offering readers a means for reconceptualising migration and environmental changes as a site of politics and of political possibility. Along the way it addresses a range of topics current in cultural and political theory, including democracy, place, neoliberalism, humanism, materiality, borders, affect, race and sexuality. If climate change stands to redistribute humans and material across the globe, then Life Adrift offers a set of critical resources for analysing this coming phenomenon and reimaging what it might mean to be political in a fully immanent world of bodies in flux.

Dalby, Simon. “On “Not Being Persecuted”: Territory, Security, Climate.” In Life Adrift: Climate Change, Migration, Critique, edited by Andrew Baldwin and Giovanni Bettini. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017.

“On “Not Being Persecuted”: Territory, Security, Climate.”

Dr. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly from the University of Victoria, Canada delivers his keynote speech at “Rethinking Borders in the Middle East” conference.

פרופ’ עמנואל ברונט ג’יילי, אוניברסיטת ויקטוריה, קנדה חשיבה מחדש על גבולות במזרח התיכון INSS, המכון למחקרי ביטחון לאומי

December 12th, 2017

The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)