Introduction: The making and unmaking of boundaries

Allen Buchanan, Margaret Moore

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


This volume is concerned with one of the most pressing issues facing us today: the making and unmaking of boundaries. Even in this age of globalization – by which is usually meant capital mobility, extremely rapid methods of transportation and communication, the liberalization of economic markets, the advance of multinational corporations to many parts of the globe, and increased global economic trade – boundaries are enormously important. It matters to people's education, level of health, opportunities and life-prospects, rights and liberties which states they live in. People who migrate from one area of jurisdictional authority to another often taken great risks: Some prospective migrants die in the attempt. The coercive power of the state is often employed to prevent the migration of people across boundaries, and some states expend huge sums of money on military hardware and large armies and sacrifice their soldiers' lives, mainly in defense of existing boundaries. One of the most destabilizing aspects of the post-Cold War period has been the alteration of boundaries, which takes place outside the rule of law and often by force. For nearly fifty years following the end of the Second World War, there was only one successful case of secession – Bangladesh, which was created out of a separatist movement, and in unique circumstances, particularly since its secession was supported both militarily and politically by India. Since the end of the Cold War, a number of new states have been created in the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Czechoslovakia, and there is little prospect of boundary stability and peace in the ethnically mixed, recently independent states of the first three regions, as there are a number of secessionist groups seeking to further carve them up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStates, Nations, and Borders
Subtitle of host publicationThe Ethics of Making Boundaries
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780511613937
ISBN (Print)0521819717, 9780521819718
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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