The Newsletter 71 Summer 2015

Militarized Borderlands in Asia

Swargajyoti Gohain

Philosopher Georg Simmel uses ‘the door’ as a powerful metaphor of conscious borders. The door is an active boundary, for it can be closed and opened at will. While the closure of the door reinforces the feeling of separation, the fact that it can be opened symbolizes the freedom to transcend boundaries. The closed door quality of borders is most apparent in disputed territories and frontier conflict zones, where military structures and technologies of surveillance, such as border fences and security cameras, materially reorder space as well as reify the border in people’s minds and lives through psycho-sociological processes.