Routledge Handbook of Asian Borderlands  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Asian Borderlands

ISBN 9781138917507
Published March 8, 2018 by Routledge
462 Pages - 31 B/W Illustrations

SAVE ~ $49.00
was $245.00
USD $196.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

In Asia, where authoritarian-developmental states have proliferated, statehood and social control are heavily contested in borderland spaces. As a result, in the post-Cold War world, borders have not only redefined Asian incomes and mobilities, they have also rekindled neighbouring relations and raised questions about citizenship and security.

The contributors to the Routledge Handbook of Asian Borderlands highlight some of these processes taking place at the fringe of the state. Offering an array of comparative perspectives of Asian borders and borderlands in the global context, this handbook is divided into thematic sections, including:

  • Livelihoods, commodities and mobilities

  • Physical land use and agrarian transformations

  • Borders and boundaries of the state and the notion of statelessness
  • Re-conceptualizing trade and the economy in the borderlands
  • The existence and influence of humanitarians, religions, and NGOs
  • The militarization of borderlands

Causing us to rethink and fundamentally question some of the categories of state, nation, and the economy, this is an important resource for students and scholars of Asian Studies, Border Studies, Social and Cultural Studies, and Anthropology.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Asian borderlands in a global perspective, Martin Saxer, Alessandro Rippa, and Alexander Horstmann 

Part 1 Conceptual framing

1.Violence in Asian borderlands, Reece Jones

2. Asia´s gendered borderlands, Malini Sur

3. Intimate militarism: domesticating the border in rural Central Asia, Madeleine Reeves

4. Borders and bordering in Asia, Karin Dean

5. Zomia and beyond, Jean Michaud

Part 2 Livelihoods, commodities, mobilities

Introduction, Christine Bonnin

6. Political livelihoods in northeast borderlands of Cambodia: legacy of the past, territorial incorporation, and confrontation, Frédéric Bourdier

7. Cross-border commodities: processual histories, commodity chains, and the yak tail trade, Tina Harris

8. Old routes, new roads: proximity across the China–Pakistan border, Alessandro Rippa

9. Making place within a geopolitical frontier: Mae Aw (Ban Rak Thai), Carl Grundy-Warr, Jessica Teo, and Chin Wei Jun

10. Making connectivity work: exploring cross-border livelihoods between Kazakhstan and China, Henryk Alff

11. Ritual and issues of ethnic integration in the borderlands of the state of Rakhine/Arakan (Myanmar), Alexandra de Mersan 

Part 3  Physical land use and agrarian transformations

Introduction, Jean-François Rousseau 

12. Genesis of state space: frontier commodification in Malaysian Borneo, Noboru Ishikawa

13. Frontier constellations: agrarian expansion and sovereignty on the Indonesian- Malaysian border, Michael Eilenberg

14. Beyond ‘natural’ pressures: Chinese agriculture in the Russian Far East, Jiayi Zhou 

15. A failed market experiment and ignored livelihoods: Jatropha expansion in the Sino–Vietnamese borderlands, Jean-François Rousseau 

Part 4 Border and boundaries of the state, governance, and the production of statelessness

Introduction, Karin Dean 

16. Multiple borders and bordering processes in Kachin State, Karin Dean and Mart Viirand

17. Turning your back to the border: federalism, rerritory, and claims for autonomy in the Nepal–India borderland, Rune Bennike

18. A proliferation of border Interfaces: Ordering Insecurity for Migrants in the Thai–Burmese Borderlands, Adam Saltsman

19. The Decision to Move: Post-exchange Experiences in the Former Bangladesh-India Border Enclaves, Md. Azmeary Ferdoush and Reece Jones

20. The backdoors of resistance: Identities in the Malay Peninsula’s maritime borderlands, Maxime Boutry

21. Ethnic reconstruction and Austronesian strategies at the borders: the Moken social space in Burma, Jaques Ivanoff  

Part 5 It’s all about relations: re-conceptualizing trade and the economy in the borderlands

Introduction, Caroline Grillot

22. Accumulating trust: Uyghur traders in the Sino-Kyrgyz border trade after 1991, Rune Steenberg

23. The "leech plot": Discourses on alleged deception strategies among traders in the Sino–Vietnamese borderlands, Caroline Grillot

24. Nobody stops and stays anymore: Motor roads, uneven mobilities, and conceptualizing borderland modernity in highland Nepal, Galen Murton

25. Cultivating Consumer Markets: Ethnic Minority Traders and the Refashioning of Cultural Commodities in the Sino-Vietnamese Border Uplands, Christine Bonnin

26. Invisible Trade: Sovereign Decisions on the Sino-Russian Border, Natalia Ryzhova 

Part 6 Humanitarians, Religion and NGOs

Introduction, Alexander Horstmann 

27. Humanitarian assistance and protestant proselytizing in the borderlands of Myanmar: The Free Burma Rangers, Alexander Horstmann

28. The moral economy of the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border, Su-Ann Oh

29. Biosocial body of ethno-religious boundaries in a Tibetan marriage, Dan Smyer Yü

30. Development institutions and religious networks in the Pamirian borderlands, Till Mostowlansky 

Part 7 Militarization of Borderlands

Introduction, Swargajyoti Gohain 

31. Border, checkpoint, bodies, Pradeep Jeganathan

32. Musical crossings over the militarised borderland: a case study of the Ogasawara Islands, Masaya Shishikura

33. Evaded states: security and control in the Sino–North Korean border region, Adam Cathcart

34. Border and road regimes in Central Asia: ordering disorder at Uzbek-Kazakh checkpoint, Rano Turaeva

35. Bordered spaces: spatial strategies in a "disputed border", Swargajyoti Gohain

View More



Alexander Horstmann is Associate Professor in Southeast Asian Studies at Tallinn University, Estonia.

Martin Saxer is an anthropologist based at LMU Munich, Germany.

Alessandro Rippa is a postdoctoral fellow at LMU Munich, Germany.



Support Material

Open Access Content

  • Chapter 12 (.pdf) Genesis of state space Frontier commodification in Malaysian Borneo

    Open Access content has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CCBY-NC-ND) license