National barriers

Walls went up after the Berlin Wall came down

In her 2017 travelogue Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe, the writer and poet Kapka Kassabova meets Emel, a loquacious Turkish civil servant who tells her that ‘the only good thing about a border is that you can cross it’. These words speak to an inherent contradiction. Borders stand as overt manifestations of national power. They represent what seems most fixed and immutable about the state. But in reality, what they do more than anything else is invite transgression. This idea that borders are not quite what we perceive them to be is the thematic ballast for Klaus Dodds’s impressive and timely Border Wars. And it is a