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The dynamics of frontier spaces in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America

Research period:2018.10-2023.3





This study will focus its attention on the dynamics of frontier spaces of governance, that is, spaces that are distant from centers of national government and under weak control. P. Clastres, I. Kopytoff, and J. Scott have discussed the relationships between the nation-state and inhabitants outside its control at several regional levels. Their investigations were mainly concerned with regions of the world prior to colonization or the outbreak of the Second World War. However, the national incorporation of frontier spaces is not an irreversible process. In some cases, frontiers that were thought to have been placed entirely under a given nation’s rule later regained their frontier status as that nation’s powers of governance waned. Additionally, some regions left ungoverned and largely ignored by nation-states have been “rediscovered” as frontier spaces by capital interests or national governments that seek to develop and commercialize their resources. The “discovery and disappearance” of frontier spaces is a cyclical phenomenon. In fact, since the beginning of the 21st century, many new frontier spaces have been “discovered” worldwide, and efforts to develop and nationally incorporate those spaces are moving forward. Drawing from case studies of regions in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America, this study aims to demonstrate how the inhabitants of frontier spaces have attempted to reorganize their lives as members of a modern world that is unable to completely free itself from the bonds of national control and capitalism.