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Borderlands: Towards an Anthropology of the Cosmopolitan Condition

Michel Agier | Polity Press | August 29, 2016

The images of migrants and refugees arriving in precarious boats on the shores of southern Europe, and of the makeshift camps that have sprung up in Lesbos, Lampedusa, Calais and elsewhere, have become familiar sights on television screens around the world. But what do we know about the border places these liminal zones between countries and continents that have become the focus of so much attention and anxiety today? What do we know about the individuals who fill these places, their hopes and fears, and about the kinds of social relationships that form between the groups of people who confront one another there the migrants and refugees, the local residents, the police and other officials of the state?

In this timely book, anthropologist Michel Agier addresses these questions and examines the character of the borderlands that emerge on the margins of nation-states. Drawing on his ethnographic fieldwork, he shows that borders, far from disappearing, have acquired a new kind of centrality in our societies, becoming reference points for the growing numbers of people who do not find a place in the countries they wish to reach.

More information is available on the publisher's website.