A "Little Berlin Wall" for all: discursive contruction across scales

Edward Kieran Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since 2013, Russian Border Security Forces have been constructing
border fences at various points along the Administrative
Boundary Line that separates the de facto state of South
Ossetia from the remainder of Georgian territory. This process
of ‘borderization’ materializes what was formerly an administrative
fiction on the ground, seeking to territorially demarcate
the divide between the two communities. The fence in question
has come to be referred to as the “Little Berlin Wall” inherently
comparing some comparatively insubstantial stretches of fencing
and barbed wire with the imposing concrete fortifications
that served to divide East and West Berlin at the height of the
Cold War.
This article argues for the utility of the notion of a discursive
construction in analysing this border. The notion will be used to
clarify how this superficially unjustifiable comparison indicates
that the Administrative Boundary Line is both shaped by and
restructuring the regional geography of Europe. The invocation
of the Berlin Wall emphasizes that this material fencing
divides Georgia. The effects of its deployment are felt at various
scales, from how this boundary is seen as an illegitimate division
of sovereign Georgian territory, to its role in constructing
Europe’s outer edge. The geographical and temporal division
of Tbilisi-controlled Georgia from what lies on the other side
of the “illegal” boundary works to incorporate Georgia firmly
within Europe.
This discursive construction at Europe’s outer edge also indicates
both the importance of border processes occurring at
the margins of a regional geographic entity and how the local,
national and wider regional scales are able to be tied together
within Europe’s post-Cold War borders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalEuropa Regional
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2017


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