The Complexity of «Borders»: Research Agendas, Terminology and Classification


The article analyzes the Border Studies discourse along central research programs and concepts. The interdisciplinary field of Border Studies became a very important area of scientific knowledge since the end of 1980s. Through dissolution and transformation of previously “stable” (national and system) borders of the bipolar world, new opportunities have come forth for the social sciences and humanities to research borders systematically. By classifying and describing the basic terms and concepts, the authors identify the features of the functioning of the border discourse both in the English- and Russian-speaking scientific communities. One of the major purposes of the paper is to find abilities of authentic translation of the English terms into Russian and transfer the original meaning into the conditions of the Russian cultural environment and linguistic ontology. Therefore, the focus is put on the main explanatory approaches and research strategies for studying borders: the Borderscapes heuristics, the analyzes of a complex border composed by a variety of boundary sets and layers, the sociological approach of arrangements, the historical research program phantom borders, the theory of cultural exclusion and frontier zones as well as the B/ORDERS IN MOTION research program. In the framework of the latter, the system characteristics/ properties of the “border" are revealed, which are durability, permeability, liminality. An important aspect that gradually becomes more significant is the hardening or durabilization of borders - is examined as well as the relation between borders and orders. Finally, prospects and outlook for further evolvement of border studies are outlined.
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