Building Walls and Dissolving Borders: The Challenges of Alterity, Community and Securitizing Space

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-04-19
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Fast-paced globalization and urbanization have created conditions of high population density, rapid migration and immigration flows, growing poverty and income inequality and frequent discontent and conflict among heterogeneous populations now living in close proximity. Conflicts among these inhabitants may become overt, as with sectarian, ethnic or tribal violence, or they may be latent, as with simmering resentment regarding employment opportunities or living conditions. Walls, barriers and other physical enclosures have become increasingly prominent artifacts in the built environment and assert special separation following social conflicts. Walls play multiple social, political, economic and cultural roles and are linked to the fundamental question of how human beings live together. In this book the authors examine walls, whether as physical artifacts on the landscape or metaphors for difference among specific groups or communities, as boundary objects which shape individual identities and constitute powerful sites around which identities are transformed and contested. This book illuminates how alterity is constructed, created, and continuously negotiated along, across, and in spite of the architectural form of the wall. Through a mix of fascinating case studies from around the world the authors examine how walls combine with other social processes in the construction of alterity and how the social imaginaries attached to them are transformed in time. They also reveal how the architectural planning of walls may become a de facto means of waging war, as well as how the demolition of walls may give way to complex architectural and administrative connections that make space secure again in more sophisticated ways.

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