Liminal no More


The introductory essay suggests that for too long theories of nationalism and the state have taken a top-down approach which denies agency to local actors. One way to redress this bias is to study state borders, for here it is possible to generate insights into how people who are apparently at the periphery of the state may actively influence its policy and direction. The essay reviews existing border studies in different disciplinary fields and, to contextualise the papers that follow, argues that an anthropological approach in particular can shed much light in the cultures of the borderland, as well as on the formation and management of identities there. Special attention is paid to Europe, both to the way in which border studies as a field of intellectual inquiry were implicated in national policy in mid-twentieth century Germany, and to how our contributors suggest borderland cultures have negotiated the changes brought about by the European Union.

How to Cite

Haller, D. & Donnan, H., (2000) “Liminal no More”, Ethnologia Europaea 30(2), 7-22. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Dieter Haller (European University Viadrina)
Hastings Donnan (The Queens University of Belfast)



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