Border Heterotopias

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Embargoed until 2022-05-08
Copyright: Ozguc, Umut
This thesis seeks to understand how borders operate and what subjectivities, spaces, narratives, relations, connections, conflicts and transformations they perform. It aims to unsettle critical readings of contemporary state borders as simply exclusive and violent biopolitical places which enact bare lives. It opens up the border into alternative imaginations by conceptualising it as a heterotopia. Drawing on a Deleuzo-Guattarian ontology of becoming and Tim Ingold’s notion of lines, it defines heterotopia as a fluid meshwork space constituted by and constitutive of ever-shifting transformative movements of three lines: molar lines, molecular lines, and lines of flight. The central argument is that, understood as a heterotopia, the border does not have a static structure; it is not a natural or a fixed entity with a stable identity. On the border all these lines co-exist, working in a continuum, and in their entanglements they alter one another. These three types of lines constantly mutate depending on the discursive and corporeal practices constituting them. It is the ever-shifting, contradictory and uncertain movements of these lines that transform a border into a heterotopia. Heterotopia is in constant transformation. The colonising structures and dominant moral codes of molar lines may temporarily capture this space, while molecular lines may destabilise the operation of established power structures offering the first signals of positive transformations, and thus alternative political imaginations. In this sense, the border does not exhibit a final structure, it is always at the state of uncertainty; it is always on the threshold. Nothing is stable on this space. The border moves in every direction in response to and in anticipation of the different lines that enable its construction, preservation, disruption and transformation. As such, the border never settles, it re-begins each time with the ever-shifting entangled movement of its multiple lines. This is where the positive force of border heterotopias lies. Their constant movement is their potential to activate a new form of ethics that is cultivated by the politics of becoming-other.
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Ozguc, Umut
Burke, Anthony
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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