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Toward geopolitics of hope: Moving beyond border-violence intersections along the Balkan Route

Authors: Borjana Lubura*, Geography and Environment, University of Hawaii - Manoa
Topics: Political Geography
Keywords: Borders, violence, hope, Balkan Route, borderscapes, assemblage
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper comes as a response to Chiara Brambilla and Reece Jones’s (2019) call for an applied and engaged research approach within borderscapes sites. Even though critical border studies became salient in the past twenty years, the sub-field lacks interdisciplinary approaches to analyze complex and dynamic everyday border-crossing practices and the ways that states try to shape the lives of border-crossers. This paper combines borderscaping with Jason Dittmer’s understanding of assemblages, to conceptualize the complexity of border dynamics along the Balkan Route. Based on ethnographic data collected over two years along the borders in Serbia and Bosnia, this paper outlines a mutually inclusive relationship between the state and the people on the move. This approach highlights the ways in which both people on the move and the state shape the border. It details how the clash of everyday politics with state politics results in panicked policy changes from the state and creates a beam of hope for people on the move.

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