In the wake of the recent government shutdown in the US over President Trump’s proposed border wall, Atossa Araxia Abrahamian of The Nation speaks with Wendy Brown about her book, Walled States: Waning Sovereignty. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full interview. An excerpt appears below:
“Q: Can you speak about the distinctions between a wall and a border?
A: The wall and the border have an untethered relationship. The question of whether sovereignty is expressed through territoriality—probably one of the most important questions today—and how the rule of law and the capacity for sovereign decisions articulates with territory is one of the ways the Westphalian order that brought us nation-state sovereignty is coming apart. Sovereign action is often outside the border—well outside the border, through outsourcing decisions, regulation, and control of other nations. It’s the agreement Trump is trying to make with Mexico [for migrants to remain there until their claims are processed].
Or it can be deep inside a country: There’s a loss of a distinction between border patrols, policing, military, and vigilante groups. And when you see that loss of distinction, you see that the question of bounded territory itself is in crisis.”