Frontier anxiety: living with the stress of the every-day border

Winter 2015

The extension of border policing into everyday activities is undermining communities across Britain.

State borders hold a place in the collective imagination of our times in which anxiety plays a central part. It is at borders that the mundane certainties of life dissolve and the simple business of existing becomes a matter of uncertainty. This is the place where a person is forced to confront with the sharpest of intensity the fact that the rights which usually seem as securely available as an intimate personal possession are in fact a by-product of their relationship with the authorities of a state. It is at the border that this relationship can be called into most fundamental question. ‘I see you are in possession of a British passport madam’, says the immigration officer. ‘But can you explain to me how you came by this document and why you feel you are entitled to benefit from it?’ […]

Soundings 61