Geography Compass

A borderless world?

Sarah Mills

The Home Office has recently announced a new passport design, to be issued from October 2010.  In an attempt to counter identity-theft and fraud, the passport is being marketed as “speeding up travellers’ passage through border controls” and includes enhanced security features such as holograms, two photographs and hiding the security chip from view.  The Chief Executive of the Identity and Passport Service states that “Through its combination of physical and electronic security features, the UK passport remains one of the most secure and trusted documents in the world, meeting rigorous international standards.”  Its use at border and immigration controls and the continual challenge of fighting fraud means that the passport and its associated (biometric) technologies reflect broader attitudes towards migration, security, belonging and citizenship.

In their paper in Geography Compass, Alexander Diener and Joshua Hagen (2009) examine how despite predictions of a borderless world, “state borders remain one of the most basic and visible features of the international system”.  They argue that although it is clear there is growing interaction between different places and that globalisation has clearly impacted flows of migration and international trade, “borders continue to play a central role in shaping, dividing, and uniting the world’s societies, economies, and ecosystems”.  The distinct political geographies of borders, territory and identity are reflected upon by Diener and Hagen, who use historical and contemporary examples of how ‘borders matter’.  This article is a useful summary of research on border studies and the benefits for geographers and others within the social sciences.  The continued improvement and re-configuration of passports and border security reflects wider ideas about the role of borders and the importance of territory in the international system.

Read ‘New UK passport design unveiled in fight against fraud’ on BBC Online

Read Diener, A. C. and Hagen, J. (2009), Theorizing Borders in a ‘Borderless World’: Globalization, Territory and Identity. Geography Compass, 3: 1196–1216.

1 comment

  1. I am a 8th grade teacher in NC and came across your site while researching some information about geography for my class this year. I just wanted to thank you for the great information and articles about geography.

    We would love it if you could write a few articles for us, or link to some of the current articles to help us spread trusted resources to other teachers. I have included a link to the site below in hopes you might want link to it.

    Thanks and keep the great resources coming

    Bre Matthews

Leave a Reply or Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: