The Politics of Borders

The Politics of Borders: Sovereignty, Security, and the Citizen after 9/11 (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Book description

Borders sit at the center of global politics. Yet they are too often understood as thin lines, as they appear on maps, rather than as political institutions in their own right. This book takes a detailed look at the evolution of border security in the United States after 9/11. Far from the walls and fences that dominate the news, it reveals borders to be thick, multi-faceted and binational institutions that have evolved greatly in recent decades. The book contributes to debates within political science on sovereignty, citizenship, cosmopolitanism, human rights and global justice. In particular, the new politics of borders reveal a sovereignty that is not waning, but changing, expanding beyond the state carapace and engaging certain logics of empire.


‘Beautifully written, Mathew Longo’s book opens our eyes to the transformation of state borders in an era of new security technologies and big data. Longo’s approach is rather unique in its combination of anthropological fieldwork and normative argument. His target audience is not any academic discipline, it is citizens who want to understand the new threats to their freedom, and do something about it too.’ Rainer Bauböck – European University Institute, Florence

‘Longo crosses disciplinary boundaries in order to make visible the complex realities of contemporary borders. This richly detailed and conceptually imaginative work provides a valuable critical perspective on a topic of growing importance in the modern world.’ Joseph H. Carens – University of Toronto

‘Political theorists have expended much energy debating whether and how far states have the right to control movement across their borders, but have said little about what borders and border control might mean for the relationship between the state and its citizens. Matthew Longo offers a deep and powerful – and at times, disturbing – examination of this question in his important and timely study.’ Chandran Kukathas – The London School of Economics and Political Science