Between security and mobility: negotiating a hardening border regime in the Russian-Estonian borderland

2015-10-23T13:05:46Z (GMT) by Alena Pfoser
Since the end of the Cold War order post-Soviet borders have been characterised by geopolitical tensions and divergent imaginations of desirable political and spatial orders. Drawing upon ethnographic research in two border towns at the Russian-Estonian border, the article makes a case for a grounded examination of these border dynamics that takes into account how borders as sites of ‘mobility and enclosure’ are negotiated in everyday life and shaped by the differentiated incorporations of statecraft into people’s lives. Depending on their historical memories, people interpret the border either as a barrier to previously free movement or as a security device and engage in correspondingly different relations to the state – privileging local concerns for mobility or adopting the state’s concerns over security and sovereignty. Analysing these border negotiations and the relations between citizens and the state, articulated in people’s expectations and claims, can provide us with a better understanding of how people participate in the making of borders and contribute to the stability and malleability of political orders.