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Introduction: The (Re)Building of the Wall in International Relations

Élisabeth Vallet, Charles-Philippe David

Abstract


The fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of a new international landscape ushered in an era of globalization in which states appeared irrevocably condemned to obsolescence, a world without borders. The advent of an international system in which the state was relegated to secondary importance in international relations, coupled with the disappearance of physical borders, left little reason to expect a return of the wall. However, borders, walls and barriers, symbols that were thought to have perished with decolonization and the disappearance of the bipolar world, made a comeback in the aftermath of 9/11. The wall as object embraces a heterogeneous range of structures built with diverse motivations on a variety of borders. Meanwhile, the wall as phenomenon has proliferated over the past 10 years, encircling both democratic and authoritarian states, failed states and healthy ones. This special issue investigates both the empirical and symbolic facets of the erection of structures designed to keep away (and keep away from) the Other, from the "near abroad."

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229

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