Borderline Security

23 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2002

See all articles by Audrey Macklin

Audrey Macklin

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law


The author argues that the attack on September 11 and the legislative response to it by Canada, (and, by extension, other Western states) reveal how the functionality of borders is simultaneously overdetermined and crucially undermined by the quest for security. The fixation on border permeability as the primary determinant of security from the threat posed by the Other cannot but expose the limits on what borders can and actually do. This in turn returns one to the disjuncture between how we imagine the borders that circumscribe our national communities and how we imagine those communities. The article begins by setting out three functional attributes of borders: territoriality, sovereignty and security. It then explores how the events of September 11 and the response to date complicate these tacit associations between geopolitical borders and the nation-state's integrity. Finally, the author contends that the functionality of borders is being eroded even as - or perhaps because - the demand to fortify them in the name of security is reaching new levels of fervour.

Keywords: Immigration, Refugees, Harmonization, Citizenship, Security, Terrorism, Borders

Suggested Citation

Macklin, Audrey, Borderline Security. Available at SSRN: or

Audrey Macklin (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
416-946-7493 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

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