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Sovereign Survival: Borders as Issues

Allan K. McDougall, Lisa Philips Valentine


Revisiting the relevance of state borders in a changing world, this paper focuses on the complexities of the intersection of the hegemonic character of the state and its manifestations in issues at the border. Three types of border conflict are presented in this case study: trade and the construction of issues across the Canada-U.S. border, the indirect impact of that state border on social services and social life in the area, and the decreasing significance of statist standards as one approaches its borders. The study uses a typical decision of a quasi judicial agency, the National Transportation Agency, to illustrate the hegemonic practice embedded in the normal practice of statist structures. It concludes with the paradox that the rule of law is crucial to control the exercise of public power and yet the application of legal principles reinforces the ascendancy of hegemonic forces. The border as the hinterland of the state is a liminal zone where these dynamics are especially visible.

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