The Social Construction of Borders

For much of the modern era, the term “border” has been synonymous with the geopolitical boundaries of the Westphalian system. Borders are demarcated and securitized; they are negotiated and fought over. Borders help to define citizenship and to exclude the unwelcome and Other. But what of culture? Does cultural identity stop (or start) at the border? How do we form our cultural identities, and what relationship do these processes have with state boundaries? Is “Canadian culture” only expressed by Canadian citizens, for example, or can non-citizens adopt the Canadian cultural identity? How do virtual spaces challenge our understanding of borders and bordering processes?


  • M. Foucault. 1978. Governmentality, in P. Rabinow and N. Rose (eds), The Essential Foucault, New York: The New Press, pp.229-245, 1994
  • Anahita, S. 2006. "Blogging the borders: Virtual skinheads, hypermasculinity, and heteronormativity." Journal of Political and Military Sociology 34 (1): 143
  • Polletta, F. 1999. “Free spaces” in collective action. Theory and Society, 28(1), 1-38.
  • E. Dell’Agnese & A. Amilhat Szary. 2015. Borderscapes: From Border landscapes to Border Aesthetics. Geopolitics 20 (1), 4-13.

Researcher: Edwin Hodge is a post-doctoral research fellow with the Borders in Globalization Project at the University of Victoria, where he also works as a sessional lecturer in the department of Sociology. During the Fall of 2018 he taught the course “The Sociology of Star Trek”, where he used the cultural phenomenon as a tool to explore key sociological themes including gender, race, colonialism, and utopian ideology.

This seminar will be held on March 12th, 2019, in room B007 of the Clearihue building at the University of Victoria. Please email borders[at]uvic[dot]ca to register.