Border Work is Complex George Gavrilis, Visiting Research Fellow, Columbia University On a tour of the Afghan-Pakistan border a decade or so ago, Afghanistan’s minister of the interior was in for a rude awakening. A number of guards at one Afghan-controlled crossing, he learned, went home at the end of each workday to Pakistan. The minister was shocked yet unsurprised to have Pakistani citizens on his payroll for such a sensitive task. After all, the border had always been an area of intermingling and mobility, and cross-border relationships often trumped the ability of one state or another to impose order and separation. The minister recounted the story to me, laughing at the memory. Although a person of the highest state authority, he was in no way affronted by the situation. It was clear that border work is complex. As I read through Border Work , my memory of the above conversation with the Afghan minister kept coming to mind—though the fine book that Madeleine Reeves has written is not about Afghanistan. I’ll come back to the minister’s story later, but first I want to lay out the argument in Border Work . Border Work is a rich ethnography
Central Asian Affairs – Brill
Published: May 29, 2015
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