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Boundaries and territoriality in South Asia: From historical comparisons to theoretical considerations
Published in
Volume: 45
Issue: 2
Pages: 105 - 132
This article examines the theoretical salience of territoriality, particularly in South Asia, by comparing the histories of the region's three most contentious boundaries - Durand, McMahon and Radcliffe lines. It argues that four distinct avenues are central to theoretical considerations on territoriality in South Asia: the role of liberalism in colonial construction of state; international and domestic dimensions of geopolitics; disruptions in demographic and cultural contiguities produced by the boundaries; and the nature of sovereignty resulting from the experience of colonialism. Traditional lenses for studying boundaries and territoriality offer limited analytical purchase. The article posits that critical geopolitics and history-intensive approaches allow a better grasp of material and discursive dimensions of territoriality. Such an eclectic consideration is especially suitable for studying territoriality in South Asia given the region's cross-border complexities, both real and symbolic. {\textcopyright} 2008 SAGE Publications.
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