Human Folly and Border Fences: Looking to Non-Human Actors at the Indo–Bangladesh Border

  • Uddipta Ranjan Boruah South Asian University

Abstract

The obsession with inter-state territorial borders and the associated paraphernalia of border management and security makes borders and their management a primarily human-centric discourse. This paper makes an attempt at introducing the agency of rivers as non-human actors—or rather as actants—in shaping and managing international borders. The paper looks specifically at the riverine sector of the Indo-Bangladesh border, where the international boundary has been re-negotiated each year by the transnational rivers, primarily the Brahmaputra (also the Gangadhar), through flooding, erosion, and deposition of sediment. By interrogating the role of rivers in shaping the border and border management strategies, the paper argues that humans, despite persisting as the primary agents in border management, are not the only actors. Drawing on Actor Network Theory (ANT), a case is made to appreciate the general symmetry between humans and non-humans as a-priori equal. Incorporating both in an actor-network may provide insights into border management in complex borderlands. 

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Published
2021-12-20
How to Cite
Uddipta Ranjan Boruah. (2021). Human Folly and Border Fences: Looking to Non-Human Actors at the Indo–Bangladesh Border. Borders in Globalization Review, 3(1), 59-66. https://doi.org/10.18357/bigr31202120260
Section
Articles