Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor

Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor

Book Pages: 384 Illustrations: Published: July 2013

Geography, Politics > Political Theory, Sociology > Social Theory

Far from creating a borderless world, contemporary globalization has generated a proliferation of borders. In Border as Method, Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson chart this proliferation, investigating its implications for migratory movements, capitalist transformations, and political life. They explore the atmospheric violence that surrounds borderlands and border struggles across various geographical scales, illustrating their theoretical arguments with illuminating case studies drawn from Europe, Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, and elsewhere. Mezzadra and Neilson approach the border not only as a research object but also as an epistemic framework. Their use of the border as method enables new perspectives on the crisis and transformations of the nation-state, as well as powerful reassessments of political concepts such as citizenship and sovereignty.


 “Against liberalism’s duplicitous dream of a universal political language, Border as Method explodes on the scene voraciously combining, re-inventing, pulling apart, putting together, layering, sifting and dissecting contemporary theories and knowledge of what our capitalist world is becoming and how we might change it.”  — Rogier van Reekum, Krisis

“In this important book, Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson re-examine some of today’s most debated and commented upon processes and practices (migration, globalization, neoliberalism) as well as some of the most naturalized of state categories (citizenship, illegals). In linking what they call the proliferation of borders with the expansion and intensification of competition within a labour market that encompasses the entire world, they provide new insights to the ways in which practices of bordermaking and maintenance are essential to the production of labour power as a commodity and hence to capitalism. Most refreshingly, their aim is to not only reveal the significance of bordering practices to the creation of current ruling relations but also to argue for the creation of new political spaces—and subjectivities—necessary for the possibility of living a life without the sorts of exploitative and destructive social relations organized by capitalism.” — Nandita Sharma, Labour/Le Travail

"Through its focus on differential inclusion and the production of subjectivity through the border, this book is an antidote to the expanse of literature that aimed to understand the operation of the border in terms of the sovereign exception." — Kate Hepworth, City

"An ambitious work of politically engaged social theory that attempts to reconceptualize issues of labor, migration, sovereignty, and governmentality." — Jeffrey Kahn, PoLAR

"As both a scholarly and political contribution, Border as Method is concerned with positing a ‘new theoretical approach’ for understanding the materialisation, proliferation and contestation of borders in contemporary processes of what they term ‘postcolonial capitalism’." — Sara Dehm, London Review of International Law

“[T]he book’s engagement with a vast array of debates, discourses, theories and political and geographical contexts raised different sets of questions, challenges and issues of concern/matters of interest which prompted highly stimulating and insightful discussions among the group as a whole. The book thus proves capable of inspiring and enriching cross-disciplinary debates as well as infusing fresh perspectives into critical and politically engaged research in human geography. This is enabled not least by the intimate connection between activist and scholarly traditions evident throughout the text.”  — Jan S. Hutta, Sandra Sosnowski, Nicolai Teufel, Matthew G. Hannah, Jeanne Cortiel and Julian Hollstegge, Progress in Human Geography

“For scholars and activists alike, this is a great book that offers a social theory of the border drawing from rich empirical, historical and theoretical work.” — Henrik Lebuhn, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

"Border as Method is a very ambitious project. Its scope and reach are truly impressive, and it is a timely contribution to anyone thinking about borders,migration and labor in political theory, mobility studies, geography, and many other disciplines and interdisciplinary fields." — Hagar Kotef, Migration Studies

"Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson illustrate the fecundity of the unity of opposites. Arriving from two extremities of the global world, using the border as a "method", they analyze how the antithetic patterns of "border crossing" and "border reinforcement" generate "border struggles," hence subjectivities, intelligibilities, commonalities. The threshold to justice is shifted, as are the articulations of violence and language which build a new humankind. The book asks not who we are, but who we become." — Étienne Balibar, author of Equaliberty: Political Essays

"Their sights set on global movements of labor—skilled or unskilled, legal or illegal—Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson mount the most ambitious attempt yet to leverage the idea of the border into a major theoretical tool for the study of global capital. They add a rich and powerful voice to contemporary debates on globalization." — Dipesh Chakrabarty, author of Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference

"This is an agenda-setting book that brings together issues of migration, labor, sovereignty, and the common into a coherent and powerful theoretical and political vision. By treating the border not as a site but as a method, Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson demonstrate both that borders are not isolated at the margins of social space but instead run through it, and that borders have become the privileged lens through which to view contemporary politics." — Michael Hardt, coauthor of the books Declaration, Commonwealth, Multitude, and Empire


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Price: $29.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sandro Mezzadra is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bologna.

Brett Neilson is Professor of Culture and Society at Western Sydney University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface vii

Acknowledgments xiii

1. The Proliferation of Borders 1

2. Fabrica Mundi 27

3. Frontiers of Capital 61

4. Figures of Labor 95

5. In the Space of Temporal Borders 131

6. The Sovereign Machine of Governmentality 167

7. Zones, Corridors, and Postdevelopmental Geographies 205

8. Producing Subjects 243

9. Translating the Common 277

References 313

Index 349
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5503-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5487-1
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