The aim of my current research is twofold: First to provide a local perspective on the rapid changing social, political and natural environment in borderlands, and second, to create an understanding of the often paradoxical and conflicting relationship between border people and their nation states.
My monograph: At the Edges of States: Dynamics of State Formation in the Indonesian Borderlands (KITLV Press, 2012/BRILL 2014) rests on the premise that border regions offer an exciting study arena that can tell us important things about how marginal citizens relate to their nation-state. The basic assumption is that central state authority in the Indonesian borderlands has never been absolute, but waxes and wanes, and state rules and laws are always up for local interpretation and negotiation. In its role as key symbol of state sovereignty, the borderland has become a place were central state authorities are often most eager to govern and exercise power. But as illustrated, the borderland is also a place were state authority is most likely to be challenged, questioned and manipulated as border communities often have multiple loyalties that transcend state borders and contradict imaginations of the state as guardians of national sovereignty and citizenship.
I am further the editor, with Christian Lund, of a volume titled Rule and Rupture: State Formation through the Production of Property and Citizenship in Wiley’s Development & Change Book Series and together with Jason Cons I have co-edited a volume titled Frontier Assemblages: The Emergent Politics of Resource Frontiers in Asia for Wiley’s Antipode Book Series (chapter abstracts). I have just finished a book project with Mona Chettri on Development Zones in Asian Borderlands for the Asian Borderlands Book Series at Amsterdam University Press.
Copyright © Michael Eilenberg 2018