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Borders and Boundaries

  • By: Gabriel Popescu
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Boundaries and borders signify limits or discontinuities in space. While they are most often encountered today in their political meaning as territorial lines of division, the terms can be applied in a range of situations such as cultural (i.e., language), economic (i.e., class), or legal (i.e., property) contexts. Typically, there is no distinction between the terms boundary and border in everyday language. Specifically, many authors use border to designate the formal political division line between territorial units, such as states, and boundary to signify the cultural and social group difference that may or may not be marked on the ground by division lines.

In a geographical sense, boundary and border making is about marking difference in space and is closely associated with notions of identity and ...

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