Acts of motion: Towards a post-humanistic understanding of borders

Authors: Md Azmeary Ferdoush*, University of Oulu
Topics: Political Geography, Geographic Theory
Keywords: Borders, Post-human, Motion, Mobility, Acts of motion
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 15
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The paper moves beyond an anthropocentric understanding of borders that dominates the current discourse of bordering and ordering. It draws attention to the agency of and interaction between the human and non-human (f)actors in bringing both material and symbolic border(ing) into practice. I offer the idea of acts of motion to encapsulate the way motion is (re)created, (re)circulated, (re)shuffled, and (re)organized by both human and non-human agents, which eventually are materialized on borders and in bordering. Acts of motion is defined both as a single concept consisting totality of motions and individual actions that affect(s) human and non-human mobilities. At the same time, such agencies are used shortsightedly to (re)politicize the circulation of bodies by stopping migrants, temporarily suspending asylum applications, locking down camps and above all, scapegoating motion. Taking the current pandemic with Covid-19 as a case of analysis, the chapter demonstrates that the drastic closing down of borders almost all over the world, human immobility, and re-shuffling of movements all stem from a non-human agency (the virus) but are executed and managed by human agencies (grounding down flights, temporal lockdowns, and declaration of emergency). Based on these observations, it is argued in the paper that focusing on acts of motion enables us to move beyond a lopsided, rigid understanding of borders as it not only brings state and (non)state actors but also human and non-human agents into dialogue, thus moves towards a post-humanistic understanding of borders.

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