ボーダースタディーズの胎動 What is Border Studies?
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Border studies is an unknown field of study in Japan but has a certain presence in the West Coast of the US and Europe. The Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS), initiated in 1976 by US-Mexico borderlands researchers in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, has gradually expanded its sphere of influence to include the US-Canadian borderlands, and currently is the largest borderlands society in the Western Social Science Association in the US. The International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU) at Durham University, established in 1989 at the beginning of the post-Cold War era, conducts research for boundary management and for the peaceful resolution of territorial issues. Border Regions in Transition (BRIT), whose first gathering was in Berlin in 1994, grew from a European into an overseas network, including North and South America.<br>However, East Asia and Eurasia have remained isolated and segregated from the networks of worldwide border studies. Though Japan is an island nation faced with serious border issues, most of Japan's inhabitants are unaware of the realities surrounding Japan's borders. Moreover, the “international” border studies community knows little about Russia and China because of linguistic barriers (most resources are not available in English) and political barriers (too delicate for study in the former communist borderlands).<br>What aspects of border studies currently should we focus on? Border studies originally focused on international law theory and geographic practice for the allocation, delimitation, demarcation and management of boundaries. As time passed, border studies advanced beyond the sovereign and territorial characteristics in a “physical” sense and deepened its scope to include “mental” (metaphysical) analysis of border and border-related representations. Perceptions of the border are also factored in. For example, where is the line separating “Europe/non-Europe” in the consciousness of the people in “common” Europe? What is “Asia”? Is an “Asian value” shared among Asian people? This kind of “mental” border studies should be integrated collaboratively with studies focusing on the more “visible” and “physical” issues of demarcation, migration and its management on/around the borderlands.<br>In a few words, sociology, cultural studies and the other humanities hold undiscovered potential and offer opportunities to explore new frontiers of border studies in collaboration with the “old” disciplines.<br>We would like you to join our project to reshape Japan's border studies and to develop an inter-disciplinary and multi-spherical research field.
- International Relations
International Relations 2010(162), 162_1-8, 2010
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