Porous Nation: Globalisation, Militarization and Displacement — ASN Events

Porous Nation: Globalisation, Militarization and Displacement (15655)

Anoma Pieris 1
  1. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

The impact on territorial sovereignty of liberal democratic policies, marketization and securitization has been debated for many nation-states emerging from the patriotic socialism of the Cold War era. The post-national fragmentation of bounded geographies, their secessionist struggles and their radical mobilization of human capital have produced specific conditions of displacement. This paper repositions the Sri Lankan civil war, typically represented as an insular ethno-nationalist conflict, differently; as a reflection of wider geo-political phenomena. It argues that the porosity of national borders provoked by economic liberalization destabilized constructed subjectivities giving rise to defensive nationalist positions and new territorial challenges. As borders became increasingly open to human traffic, goods and services, and financial capital; national subjectivity became disputed, fragmented and sovereignty was enforced through militarization. The nation was violently globalized.

This paper looks at borders as spatial artifacts of nation-building constructed through governmental policies, industrialization and electoral processes; torn open by forces of marketization and defended through military might. Using the Sri Lankan example as a case study and the post war displacement of civilians as a starting point it examines new spatial taxonomies central to debates on sovereignty and border control. Its specific focus is on spatial interpretations of encampments as residual, militarized and pervasive manifestations of extra-territorial sovereign power; but the underlying question is how the wartime passage of national subjects across multiple borders within a single territory may trouble postwar assumptions of national subjectivity.