Limits, boundaries and borders are increasingly unfashionable. Whether its support for the ‘no borders’ approach of Europhiles or the rejection of binaries by gender-theory enthusiasts, arguing for borders is difficult these days. In an age of mass migration and globalisation, some argue that borders are a thing of the imperial past. During the Brexit debate, those who argued against freedom of movement were likened to dinosaurs, unable to keep up with the borderless future of the European Union. At the same time, borders between social concepts like man and woman, child and adult or animal and human have come into question, with critics arguing that the ‘progressive’ stance to take is to reject binaries and accept fluidity.
On the other hand, the attempt to alter or abolish conventional boundaries coexists with the imperative of constructing new ones. No-Border campaigners call for safe spaces. Opponents of cultural appropriation demand the policing of language and advocates of identity politics are busy building boundaries to keep out would-be encroachers on their identity. Is this proof of the fact that borders are essential tools for the way we relate to the world around us? Can there be a progressive case made for borders with an internationalist outlook? If we destroy the notion of borders and distinctions, what happens to judgement?
In his new book, Why Borders Matter: why humanity must relearn the art of drawing boundaries, Professor Frank Furedi argues that the key driver of the confusion surrounding borders and boundaries is the difficulty that society has in endowing experience with meaning. Join Professor Furedi and author and broadcaster Timandra Harkness for this book launch of Why Borders Matter, available to pre-order via Amazon (UK).
Professor Frank Furedi
sociologist and social commentator; author, How Fear Works: culture of fear in the 21st century and Populism and the European Culture Wars
journalist, writer and broadcaster; presenter, Radio 4’s FutureProofing and How to Disagree; comedian, Take A Risk; author, Big Data: does size matter?