Universität Wien

240125 VO VM3 / VM6 - Borders and development: concepts, practices, struggles (2020W)



Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: English

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

According to the number of students and to the changing situation, the course will be held either online or on a hybrid mode (simultaneously online and in presence). in the latter case, registration via Moodle will be required to participate in class.

Thursday 08.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 15.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 22.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 29.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 05.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 19.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 26.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 03.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 10.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 17.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 07.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 14.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 21.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 28.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 50 Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 8


Aims, contents and method of the course

The course aims at exploring the multiple, dynamic relations between borders and development through different analytical lenses.

The course is divided into three sections.

The first section will provide a brief overview of the different conceptualisations of borders. By framing the initial lessons around one key question – what borders are – this section will investigate the different epistemological approaches of borders, reflecting on their contributions and limitations in grasping other issues such as migration, mobilities and development. Complementary for our theoretical understanding of borders is a practical, empirical view over borders, i.e. where borders are located. By exploring this other key question in border studies, the first section will eventually examine more closely issues of sovereignty, national development and globalisation, as well as processes of de- and re-bordering associated with them.

The second section will explore the multiple functions of borders, their different degree of openness and closure according to the different policies, and their implications on movements and development processes. While borders acquire relevance and visibility in the management of migration movements and as providers of (real or imagined) security, they also have a less visible yet fundamental role to regulate flows of goods and capital, enhance (or obstruct) development policies and practices, and enable (or hinder) countries and people to improve their socio-economic conditions. By looking at the functional aspect of borders, this section will therefore critically analyse the multiple interrelations between border(ing) and development, taking into consideration practical implementations in different contexts.

The last section will assess micro-level, grounded and situated repercussions of bordering practices, focusing on the power, racial, and gendered boundaries of in- and exclusion that are continuously redrawn across space and that differentially affect people and policies. Besides, it will explore the multiplicity of cross-border practices that challenge or reconfigure border areas, from the myriad of – more or less legal – interconnections that happen on an everyday basis across borders to the wide variety of social movements that transgress national borders. By looking at the different cross-border practices and movements, the course will eventually discuss the feasibility and desirability of the idea of open borders, with particular focus on its repercussions on global inequalities, socio-economic development, and migratory flows.

- To introduce students to different conceptualisations and current debates on borders;
- To provide a framework for a critical understanding of the theoretical and practical relationships between borders and development;
- To encourage in-depth reflections on the multiplicity of ways borders operate throughout our societies, generating inequalities, differences and conflicts at different levels

By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- Understand and distinguish between different conceptualisation and approaches to the study of borders;
- Demonstrate familiarity with different theoretical and practical issues on borders;
- Critically assess how borders relate to contemporary social processes;
- Understand the implications of, and interrelations between, borders and development;
- Critically discuss specific topics and engage in current debates.

Assessment and permitted materials

The final assessment will consist in a short essay (3000 words) on one of the topics discussed in class, based on a set of pre-given questions. The essay is worth 100 points, which take into consideration the understanding of main concepts (30 points), analytical skills (30 points), the ability to combine and engage with different topics (30 points), and clarity of exposition (10 points). A minimum of 60 points is necessary to pass the exam.
The total mark will thus be calculated: 90-100 points: 1; 80-89 points 2; 70-79 points: 3; 60-69 points: 4. 0-59 points: 5

Given the current uncertain situation, the final exam should be submitted via Moodle. There will be four fixed submission dates (one at the end of the winter semester and three in the following one) to upload the final exam. Such dates count as examination dates, so registration to your preferred date will be required via u:space.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The course will be held in English. No prior knowledge of specific terms or concepts is required, as they will be clarified and discussed in class.

Examination topics

Students will be evaluated on the required readings and on the material provided in class, which will be made available on Moodle. Each section of the course includes some basic readings (articles and/or book chapter) as well as other suggested readings that students can consult.

Reading list

The following list provides some indications of the readings that will be discussed or touched upon during the course. Therefore it is neither comprehensive nor is it required that students read them all. Specific readings (chapters from these books as well as journal articles) that are required for the course and the final exam will be indicated in class.

Section 1 – Border concepts:
- Agnew John, Mamadouh Virginie, Secor Anna Jean and Sharp Joanne, 2015. The Wiley Blackwell companion to political geography. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell
- Balibar Étienne, 2002. Politics and the Other Scene. London: Verso.
- Cross Hannah, 2013. Migrants, borders and global capitalism: West African labour mobility and EU borders. London: Routledge.
- Jones Reece and Johnson Corey, 2014. Placing the Border in Everyday Life. Farnham: Ashgate.
- Vaughan-Williams Nick, 2009. Border Politics: The Limits of Sovereign Power. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Wastl-Walter Doris (ed), 2012. The Ashgate Research Companion to Border Studies. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate
- Wilson Thomas and Donnan Hastings (eds), 2012. A Companion to Border Studies. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.

Section 2 – Border practices:
- Aas Katja Franko and Boswarth Mary. 2013. The Borders of Punishment. Migration, Citizenship, and Social Exclusion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Anderson James, O’Dowd Liam, Wilson Thomas M. (eds.), 2003. New Borders for a Changing Europe. Cross-border Cooperation and Governance. London: Frank Cass Publishers
- Amilhat-Szary Anne-Laure and Frédéric Giraut (eds.), 2015. Borderities and the Politics of Contemporary Mobile Borders. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Brown Wendy. 2010. Walled States, Waning Sovereignty. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Cowen Deborah, 2014. The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
- De Genova Nicholas, and Peutz Nathalie Mae, 2010. The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement. Durham: Duke University Press.
- Rajaram Prem Kumar and Grundy-Warr Carl, 2007. Borderscapes. Hidden Geographies and Politics and the Edge of Territory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
- Van Houtum Henk, Kramsch Olivier, and Zierhofer Wolfgang (eds.), 2005. B/ordering Space. Aldershot: Ashgate.
- Van Schendel Willem and Itty Abraham, 2005. Illicit Flows and Criminal Things: States, Borders, and the Other Side of Globalization. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
- Yuval-Davis Nira, Wemyss Georgie, and Cassidy Kathryn, 2019. Bordering. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Section 3 – Border struggles:
- Anzaldùa Gloria, 1987. Borderlands: The New Mestiza = La Frontera. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.
- Balibar Étienne, Mezzadra Sandro and Samaddar Ranabir, 2011. The borders of justice. Philadelphia, Temple University Press
- Banerjee Paula, 2009. Borders, Histories, Existences. Gender and Beyond. New Delhi: Sage.
- Bauder Harald, 2019. Migration Borders Freedom. London: Routledge.
- Brambilla Chiara, Laine Jussi, Scott James W., and Bocchi Gianluca (eds.), 2015. Borderscaping: Imaginations and Practices of Border Making. Burlington: Ashgate.
- Birey Tegiye, Cantat Céline, Maczynska Ewa, and Sevinin Eda, 2019. Challenging the political across borders. Migrants’ and solidarity struggles. Budapest: Center for Policy Studies.
- Mezzadra Sandro and Neilson Brett. 2013. Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor. Durham: Duke University Press
- Papadopoulos Dimitris, Stephenson Niamh, and Tsianos Vassilis, 2008. Escape Routes. Control and Subversion in the Twenty-First Century. London: Pluto Press.
- Squire Vicki (ed.), 2010. Contested Politics of Mobility: Borderzones and Irregularity. London: Routledge.
- Tazzioli Martina, 2015. Spaces of Governmentality: Autonomous Migration and the Arab Uprisings. London: Rowman & Littlefield.

Association in the course directory

IE: VM3 / VM6,

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:21