PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (7): 1246-1256.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.07.014

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Construction and criticism: The progress and implication of Western border research after World War II

HOU Xuefeng1,2(), TAO Wei1,2,*()   

  1. 1. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    2. Center for Sustainable Development of Villages and Towns in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Marco Greater Bay Area, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2020-10-20 Revised:2020-12-28 Online:2021-07-28 Published:2021-09-28
  • Contact: TAO Wei;
  • Supported by:
    Major Program of National Social Science Foundation of China(18ZDA161)


By reviewing the development of Western border studies at different stages, the current status of interdisciplinary border research, and the main terminology and practices of border research, this article discussed the logical link between the general theories and practices of border research in order to contribute to relevant Chinese studies and their improvement. The result indicates that the social construction of border has become the main paradigm of Western border studies, as the result of the cultural turn of social sciences and multidisciplinary integration. Furthermore, generic terminology for border studies, instead of unified theories, have formed, including complex border, the border of relations, the border of process, the border of transition zone, and the border of construction. The terminology, which stemmed from the practice in border areas, has facilitated the diversification of border studies on issues such as critical geopolitics, the border of social construction, and the border of scale. The implication of Western border studies for Chinese researchers is that it is necessary to promote interdisciplinary study, lay emphasis on the critical geopolitical research methods and how culture functions as a catalyst in border development. Further study on the paradigm of social construction is required. We should also strike a balance between theoretical research and practice and make them complementary to each other.

Key words: border, border terminology, border practice, social construction, critical geopolitics, multidisciplinary, Western