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Precisely this resemblance is resurrecting rivalry for power and influence in the region.

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In its Islamic past or semi-European present? At the core of this lies the vision of a world divided into distinct civilizations. The implications of this are threefold: first, that a just world order can only be multipolar; second, that no civilization has the right to assume a hegemonic position in the international system; and third, that non-western civilizations like Turkey and Russia are in the ascendant. Anti-westernism and self-assertiveness are the crucial elements of this outlook.

There are some intriguing similarities and numerous parallels between the persistence of their imperial legacies, their continuous grappling with ethnic diversity and nation-building, their modernization and patterns of democratization, and their historical relation to — and perception by — Europe. Photo via Kremlin. The drama of imperial collapse and the difficulties of post-imperial readjustment are central to understanding the mindset of governing elites in Russia and Turkey. These are classical post-imperial states where the imperial past still powerfully influences the present.

We should not coyly deny velikoderzhavnost. It exists; over years of imperial history, it has become deeply imbedded in the national value system. After the collapse of the Romanov and Ottoman empires, the Soviet and Kemalist elites sought to resolve the tension between empire and nation that had proven fatal to the pre-war imperial polities. Russian Bolsheviks and Turkish nationalists appeared to have chosen opposing strategies. The result was the underdevelopment of independent economic actors and the feebleness of democratic institutions. This effectively leaves Turkey and Russia on the same page, since in the future Ankara will probably have to look for other forms of association with the EU than full membership.

This is not the only similarity, however. Both Turkey and Russia are themselves uncertain about their European identity, as heated domestic debates clearly illustrate. Turkey and Russia belong, of course, to different religious realms: the one is overwhelmingly Muslim, the other largely Orthodox. Yet there appear to be striking parallels throughout the twentieth century in the ways Russians and Turks conceived of the relationship between religion and modernity.

Turkish and Russian mobilizational models clearly saw religion as the enemy of modernity. Driven by faith in reason, belief in progress and extreme forms of scientism, the Soviets and the Kemalists sought to undermine the grip of religion in their societies and even to suppress it altogether. Two aspects of these will be dealt with here: 1 the evolving process of reconfiguring state borders in terms of territorial control, security and sovereignty and 2 the nexus between everyday life-worlds, power relations and constructions of social borders.

Both of these processes reflect change and continuity in thinking about borders and they also raise a number of ethical questions that will be briefly discussed as well. The authors therefore do not aim at total comprehensiveness or completeness — the field is much too broad and variegated for any single or totalizing attempt at documentation.

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However, while there is no single border theory, nor is there likely to be such a theory, the authors hope that this contribution might help in the development of common and transdisciplinary conceptual frameworks. The world seen in this way is compartmentalized into state shapes and territories which are fixed, lacking internal fluidity. Accordingly, international relations take place between sovereign governments as determined by Westphalian norms. Contemporary border research debate clearly reflects more general shifts away from spatial fixity.

Natural borders are a result of humans characterising spaces as natural areas. Furthermore, political boundaries rarely match ethnic, linguistic and cultural boundaries. As something contrived by society rather given by nature or natural laws, borders can be broadly defined as categories of difference that create socio-spatial distinctions between places, individuals and groups. With bordering, a conceptual transition has also taken place from seeing the border as a physical and often static geographic outcome of socio-spatial dynamics, to a context in which the borders are themselves understood as dynamic functional processes.

At its most basic, the process of bordering can be defined as the everyday construction of borders, for example through political discourses and institutions, media representations, school textbooks, stereotypes and everyday forms of transnationalism.

Chapter 1: The East Wind of Russianness

There are at least two broad and interlinked ways of how bordering can be understood: one pragmatic deriving generalizable knowledge from practices of border creation, confirmation and transcendence and the other critical theorizing, questioning and contesting the conditions that give rise to border-generating categories. With this perspective, diverse types of borders can be brought within a single but broad frame of analysis for scholars interested in understanding how borders are made and what they mean in concrete social terms Scott, Furthermore, the bordering perspective also recognizes the profound psychological significance of formal and informal boundaries.

As the much-emulated Henri Lefebvre has shown, the social role, perception and use of space are ineluctably linked to social relationships which are inherently political and constantly in flux. Bordering, as a socio-spatial practice plays an important role in shaping human territoriality and political maps — every social and regional group has an image of its own territory and boundaries. In the past, borders and identities were rarely defined in terms of allegiances to territories, but rather to rulers and religions the church.

The sustained focus of border studies on nation-states as a point of reference is therefore a legacy of the extraordinary impact state-building and state consolidation have exercised on our understandings of history — Western history in particular. For better or for worse, the situation before the Treaty of Westphalia has generally tended to be downplayed as a subject of study — except perhaps in the case of analytically anticipating the emergence of modern states, as the classic study of historical national core regions by Pounds and Ball demonstrates.

In many ways and for good reasons, the state-centred tradition in border studies continues as a result of historical experience that has been reinforced by current events. Although interdependence and processes of globalization have complicated the picture, the continuous re construction of borders based on forms of social-political organization and processes of nation-building remains a central problem in border studies. As Paasi argues , p. Major classic studies by scholars such as Ratzel , Hartshorne , , Ladis Kristof and Julian Minghi highlighted the co-evolution of borders and states as well as the consolidation of state sovereignty as an historical process.

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However, it is clear that relationships between borders and national sovereignty remain important to research debate as these are at the heart of contemporary geopolitical orders. Sovereignty presumes and justifies an alignment between territory, identity, and political community, whereas discourses on sovereignty, security and identity are at the basis of the territorial state Agnew, ; Ilyin and Kudryashova, ; Murphy, ; Sebentsov and Kolossov, Sovereignty is not exclusively an issue of statecraft, the legal status and functions of borders are also a product of power relations operating within any given society and, in turn, affect almost all aspects of life Gilles et al.

Traditional border-making processes e. As a result, the power to determine the criteria or the categories through which borders are demarcated socio-spatially is a major factor in the ordering of society. The permeability, as well as the physical and symbolic meaning of borders is thus different for different people.

Power elites decide when, and in whose interest it is, to construct and constitute borders, and they also decide when and how to open and remove borders. Power elites also determine how stringent the management and the crossing of borders will be, what documents are necessary for the crossing process to take place — be it a passport or visa. No study of borders, at the local or state level, or of the visible or the invisible type, is without a power component, and this provides an overarching framework of analysis for research into borders at all levels.

In a great number of cases, also in Europe, divergent views on the emergence and the delimitation of boundaries are at least a serious obstacle to cooperation and cross-border movement. Border conflicts are related to competing interpretations of common history and the commemorations of old victories, defeats, real or imagined injuries and injustice 2.

To paraphrase Oren Yiftachel , p. In such cases, borders can catalyze violence because of their emotionally charged nature and the sense of victimization that each group harbours. In some cases, border regions can take on a dramatic theatrical character in which specific national interpretations of past conflict and the culpability of the other side are carefully staged.

This is particularly the case of the South Korean side of the demilitarized zone, of Cyprus, the border between Turkey and Armenia, and of borders between Bosnia and other former Yugoslavian republics. Here, borders are used to represent the opposite side as a constant threat and thus as a key ideological driver of conflict over territory Bechev and Nicolaidis, ; McCall, Furthermore, border studies debates seldom suggest that state sovereignty is absolute but rather conditional upon many factors see Flint and Taylor, ; Held et al.

Indeed, a major source of conceptual development in border studies is the shifting character of state borders themselves. While state-centredness remains an important way of conceptualizing borders and their significance, many scholars argue that the world is increasingly composed of relational networks rather than only fixed spaces Socio-spatial dynamics are thus determined by continuous fluidity which allows for the connection between nodes and places.

Such fluidity of movement along global networks, takes little account of fixed borders if, and when, the network requires greater or lower intensity of movement in any particular direction. But the most known in this field are the works of Manuel Castells which promote the notion of a world composed of networked places and flows as replacing the world of spaces.

The development of communications and international trade generates borders inside state territory: at international airports, in transportation nodes, around special custom areas, and free economic zones. In many countries police can check the papers of supposed illegal migrants anytime and in any geographical point of a country.

As a result of these processes, border spaces are no longer exclusively at physical limits of the state. In terms of transformations of state sovereignty, it is possible also to distinguish between different degrees and types of territorial control that do not necessarily conform to traditional stateness. For example, territorial control can be of very different types coercive, political, ideological and economic — legal or criminal , patterns full or sporadic control, by clusters or networks and temporalities continuing, temporary, seasonal, etc.

Territorial control can be exercised in scattered pockets connected by space-spanning networks Popescu, Power can, furthermore, be generated through association and affiliation while local elites can wrest control from established states or create new state-like areas with or without external support. In addition, the world economic order not only engenders but requires asymmetries and social inequalities and thus the political borders which perpetuate them.

Nevertheless, the significance of state sovereignty and borders has been transformed with regard to specific groups. As Balibar has suggested state borders now take many different forms and have become so diffuse that whole countries can now be borderlands: once countries had borders, now they are borders. For example, political boundaries have become quite transparent for large transnational firms for whom the transaction costs of border crossing have become negligible if not non-existent.

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However, the same borders can be an important obstacle for individuals or for medium and small local businesses. Arguably, globalization has provoked a transition from one general and strictly fixed border line to multiple lines created for different actors. Indeed, crises of state sovereignty are reflected in the protracted existence of uncontrolled territories in many parts of the world. Dozens of states — Thailand, Burma, Somalia, Colombia and Moldova are just a few examples — have not exercised full control over their territory for years or even decades.

Very often institutionalized but unrecognized republics e. The boundaries and the circulation of people, goods and capital between them can be quite fluid. However, the status of an unrecognized state means that such a state is deeply involved in an unresolved conflict and can potentially become the arena of a war. Though the states remain by far the main actors at the international political scene, this perspective raises the question whether the state is the final step in the evolution of the modern political order and whether there is a limit of the proliferation of de-jure independent states and, respectively, political borders, considering that sovereignty is the ultimate goal of hundreds of secessionist movements all over the world Popov, Borders around uncontrolled territories remain a source of tension, and there is an extensive literature which seeks to establish criteria which can be used by the international community for at least recognizing de-facto states and thus contributing to the solution of dangerous conflicts see, for instance, Berg and Toomla, and Berg, He has argued that understandings of borders exclusively in terms of the historical emergence of states negates the importance of temporal specificity and everyday mentalities in creating border categories.

Kramsch suggests in fact, by going back to the roots of geographical thought, for example to the geographical possibilism of Paul Vidal de la Blache as well as the work of Ernest Renan and Jacques Ancel , we can refocus on the development of social and territorial identities. Petersburg 8. Political Culture in Russia in a Local Perspective 9.

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