Border Anxiety in International Discourse

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International borders have become a growing security concern in many parts of the world. Porous borders have raised concerns about a host of external threats—real and imagined—that in turn potentially inform policy decisions about border security. We examine global official discourse and show that border discourse has become more frequent, localized, non-state-centric, and negative over time. However, negative rhetoric is not convincingly linked with objective measures of globalization is only partially explained by political violence between and within states, and influences border-hardening policies. This raises the possibility that the border fortification trend noted in the international relations literature has not only a material basis but is also fueled by negative emotive rhetoric that may be deployed strategically for domestic purposes. We call for a research agenda that incorporates border discourse more centrally into international and comparative politics.

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American Journal of Political Science