Shifting borders

Crime, borders, international relations and criminology

Authored by: Jude McCulloch , Jacqui True

The Routledge Handbook on Crime and International Migration

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415823944
eBook ISBN: 9780203385562
Adobe ISBN: 9781135924331


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The process of globalization is transforming the relationship between states, non-state actors, and the nature and meaning of territorial and temporal borders. Intensified global flows of information, images, goods, people, fi nance and capital have led to what has been termed a ‘world in motion’ (Inda and Rosaldo 2002). The borders of states are increasingly porous in relation to licit flows and fortified against what are determined illicit flows, including irregular migrants, such as asylum seekers, refugees, ‘illegal’ workers and stateless people (Wonders 2007; McNevin 2011). Globalization is seen to produce new sources of insecurity and challenges to the security of states in particular. Under conditions of globalization, the distinction between domestic and international is increasingly blurred along with the line between internal and external threats (Loader and Percy 2012). Irregular migrants are emblematic of the hybrid threat, characterized as a threat both to national security and sovereignty and to safety and order inside the state. In the contemporary context, changes in the political economy of gender relations are also reshaping traditional borders and the distinctions between inside and outside, domestic and international realms, homefront and warfront, masculine ‘protectors’ and feminine ‘protected’. Irregular migrants are as likely to be women seeking socio-economic survival in their own right and for their families, as they are to be masculine, overtly political agents challenging state authority and the integrity of borders (Pickering and Barry forthcoming). Despite this reality, national security is increasingly oriented towards perceiving and preempting threats from nonstate actors, including individuals, particularly those linked to border breaches, such as irregular migrants (Zedner 2007; McCulloch and Pickering 2009).

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