Borders, paradox and power
SourceEthnic and Racial Studies
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Border studies have grappled with, on the one hand, the need for the use of common themes or concepts while, on the other, the need for contextual specificity. Borders are sites that embody different potentialities: division and contact, conflict and cooperation, security and anxiety, creativity and oppression, among others. In short, they are sites of the paradoxical. Paradox, it is argued, is the common overarching conceptual characteristic of borders but which specific potentialities are embodied in a border and what prevails as a result of the ensuing power struggles requires contextual specificity. Cyprus, a divided island lying on various border lines, partly inside and partly outside the EU, presents a useful socio-political space in order to illustrate this argument by outlining the specific paradoxical aspects of its own border and the results of the ensuing power struggles.