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New Left Review 112, July-August 2018


catherine bertho lavenir

BORDER MAKING

How to think the idea of the border in a way that takes its changing material reality fully into account? A starting point might be the three fundamental elements of transmission proposed by mediology: the technology that transmits the message; the message itself and its symbolic meaning; and the institution that not only enables its communication across space but ensures its transmission across time. [1] This essay was first published as ‘Technologies de la frontière’ in Medium, July–Dec 2010, no. 24–25, and is printed here in translation, with kind permission. In material terms, the border is first of all ‘natural’: rivers, streams, flat stones, elms and oaks allow us to identify a boundary. It may be man-made: a succession of landmarks, crosses, plaques—but also walls, trenches or barbed wire. It may be discontinuous: a string of forts, military encampments or customs posts.

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