Borders from the Cultural Point of View: An Introduction to Writing at Borders


  • Tuulikki Kurki Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland, Finland



Border, border crossing, diffusionism, symbolic anthropology, post-modern an-thropology


This introductory article to the special issue Writing at Borders suggests that cultural studies and the humanist point of view have significant explanatory potential concerning various borders and border crossings in multidisciplinary border studies. Cultural and human understandings of borders and border crossings grow from the research of ethnographic particularities on one hand, and of universal and culturally expressed human experiences of borders and border crossings (however culturally expressed) on the other. In this article, this explanatory potential is made visible by examining the history of cultural anthropology, where borders and border crossings have been recognized in research since the late 19th century. The aim of this concise introductory article is to outline through selected examples how territorial, social, and cultural borders and border crossings have been acknowledged and understood conceptually in the history of Anglo-American and European anthropology. The selected examples illustrate the gradual evolution of the conceptualization of the border from a territorially placed boundary and filter, to a semantically constructed, ritualized and performed symbolic border, and finally to a discursive (textual) construction.


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How to Cite

Kurki, T. (2014) “Borders from the Cultural Point of View: An Introduction to Writing at Borders”, Culture Unbound, 6(6), pp. 1055–1070. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1461055.



Theme: Writing at Borders