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Walling In and Walling Out

Why Are We Building New Barriers to Divide Us?

Edited by Laura McAtackney and Randall H. McGuire

Do contemporary walls solve the problems used to justify them? What are the effects of an increasingly segregated world? People and governments around the world are building walls at a dizzying pace to separate us, cocoon us, and exclude us. The contributors to this volume describe the uses of walls in a variety of contexts ranging from historic neighborhoods to contemporary international borders. They argue that walls are becoming more common despite their paradoxical placement in a neoliberal world in which people, goods, and ideas are supposed to move freely. Walls impact the people who live near them and those who seek to cross them. Their apparent simplicity makes them powerful tools for politicians, but in almost all cases walls accentuate divisions between peoples—endangering lives, heightening privilege, and enriching the few. The walls examined in this volume do not share a common form or type, but they do share a common political purpose: they determine and defend exclusionary definitions of social belonging by controlling access and movement. The contributors include archaeologists, anthropologists, geographers, and sociologists who bring their different perspectives and insights to the scale, form, and impact of this phenomenon of “walling in” and “walling out.”

2020. 272 pp., 6 x 9, 24 halftones, 3 maps, 1 graph, 6 tables

Editors: Laura McAtackney and Randall H. McGuire

Contributors: Amahl Bishara, Michael Dear, Miguel Díaz-Barriga, Zaire Dinzey-Flores, Margaret E. Dorsey, Reece Jones, Anna McWilliams, and Dimitris C. Papadopoulos

With special thanks to Kevin Taylor for the use of his poem “The New Apartheid.”

Download an excerpt.

Walling in and Walling Out, edited by McAtackney (Aarhus Univ., Denmark) and McGuire (Binghamton Univ., SUNY), is a smart, provocative collection of case studies. . . . This fantastic read is ideal for discussions about inclusion/exclusion, border-spaces, and relationships between politics and the built environment.”
—R. A. Harper, York College, CHOICE, January 2021

“Given the neoliberal emphasis on breaking down barriers, why has the modern world increasingly turned to the seemingly anachronistic technology of built walls? The coeditors of Walling In and Walling Out bring together scholars of geography, archaeology, anthropology, and sociology to discuss this question. What connects their approaches—and elevates this collection beyond a catalog of carceral horror—is an intimate attention to the wall as a material thing. . . . The strength of this volume is its diversity of approaches. . . . Taken as a whole, Walling In and Walling Out is a timely and fascinating book. Its case studies serve as provocative explorations that push readers to think about walls in different ways.”
—Haeden Stewart, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, American Antiquity, September 2021 (doi:10.1017/aaq.2021.100)

List of Illustrations

Chapter One. Introduction: Walling In and Walling Out
Randall H. McGuire and Laura McAtackney

Chapter Two. Barbarians at the Gates: A History of Walls
Randall H. McGuire

Part I. Local Walls

Chapter Three. Race Walls: (In)Visible Codes of Neighborhood Inequality in Puerto Rico
Zaire Dinzey-Flores

Chapter Four. Segregation Walls and Public Memory in Contemporary Belfast: Intersections with Gender and Class
Laura McAtackney

Chapter Five. An Ongoing Violence, a Sustained Resistance: Israel’s Racist Separation Wall at Aida Refugee Camp
Amahl Bishara

Part II. National Walls

Chapter Six. The Materiality of a Metaphor: The Cold War and the Berlin Wall
Anna McWilliams

Chapter Seven. Boundary Work: Invisible Walls and Rebordering at the Margins of Europe
Dimitris C. Papadopoulos

Chapter Eight. Whose Borderland? What Evidence? Divergent Interests and the Impact of the US-México Border Wall
Michael Dear

Part III. Supporting Walls

Chapter Nine. Algorithms, German Shepherds, and LexisNexis: Reticulating the Digital Security State in the Constitution-Free Zone
Margaret E. Dorsey and Miguel Díaz-Barriga

Chapter Ten. The Material and Symbolic Power of Border Walls
Reece Jones

Chapter Eleven. Conclusion: The Repercussions of Walls and Their Future
Laura McAtackney and Randall H. McGuire