Geography Compass

The lingering power of territorial borders


By Rosa Mas Giralt

Following the recent dismantling of a migrant camp near Calais known as “the jungle” by the French Police and the detention of many of its residents, reporter Paul Kenyon (BBC Panorama “Migrants, go home!”) investigates European governments’ efforts to disrupt migration routes from Africa, through Libya, Italy, France and the UK. This stern policy approach known as “pushing the chain” involves the cooperation of Libya and aims to intercept Europe bound migrants before they reach Italian soil. Such an approach has detrimental effects on those fleeing from war and prosecution and it is an example of the lingering power of territorial borders in today’s world.

In an article for Geography Compass, Diener and Hagen offer and overview of the multidisciplinary scholarship which explores “the continuing power of borders in our supposedly borderless world” (2009:1196). In view of the events discussed by Paul Kenyon in his report, it is essential to understand the political agendas which sustain territorial borders and their impact on peoples’ lives.

60% world Watch the Panorama report “Migrants, go home!” on the BBC website

60% world Read the BBC report about the dismantlement of the migrant camp near Calais

60% world geco-1-991 Read A.C. Diener and J. Hagen (2009) “Theorizing borders in a ‘borderless world’: globalization, territory and identity”. Geography Compass, 3(3):1196-1216.

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