Bodies, borders, justice

This research challenge explores how state borders create and manage sexual, racial, cultural, age, ability and class differences. It examines the effects of bordering on human relationships, on rights and on justice.

International mobility – often labelled as ‘migration’ – tends to come with weakened rights and vulnerability to injustice, ranging from oppressive inclusion to violent exclusion. State borders create, reflect and reinforce many other forms of bordering within state territories manifesting, for example, in ‘hostile environment’ policies and their consequences.

The ‘bodies, borders, justice’ research challenge studies how the making of borders intersects with and contributes to the construction of sexual, racial, cultural, age, ability and class differences. Borders and differences are both shaped by and structure personal relationships, and this research challenge foregrounds the role of emotions in facilitating or undermining interpersonal bonds in contexts such as schools, workplaces, civil society and family homes.

From a critical perspective, we unpack the past and present (re)production of embodied and territorialised cultures, including languages, religions and artistic practices, through legal and social institutions in the global North and South. Our overarching aim is to develop, in dialogue with other academics, professionals and activists, strategies to expand the possibilities of justice in a mobile world.

Key concerns include:

  • How do state bordering practices and nationalised imaginaries contribute to creating other social categories, particularly ‘race’?
  • How are identities mediated by the representation of mobility in written, oral and visual discourses?
  • What common processes lie behind the subordination of various mobile populations?
  • What conceptions of justice legitimise attempts to immobilise people for certain periods in specific locations, from the state to the prison?
  • How can empirical research trouble the prevailing spatial and temporal assumptions about human mobility?

Selected research projects:

Research challenge co-ordinator:

Dr Natasha Carver, Lecturer in International Criminology, School of Policy Studies