The aesthetics of teichopolitics : sense, sensibility & the return of the border wall in IR : an exploratory & comparative study
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Despite the renewed interest in political barriers in a contemporary teichopolitical era and an expanding body of research on border-related matters, meagre academic attention has been directed at linking aesthetics with teichopolitics. By means of a pluralist, reflective and multidisciplinary document-based approach, this thesis seeks to address this knowledge gap by exploring the ways in which aesthetic aspects provide an important and valuable source of insight and alternate meanings. The argument put forth is, hence, that the intellectually longstanding yet largely neglected field of aesthetic can contribute to a more profound and nuanced understanding of modern-day teichopolitics. Furthermore, the paper examines the links between ‘aesthetic borderscaping’ and teichopolitical practices through a comparative study of the US-Mexico Wall and the West Bank Wall, the two most prominent great walls in present-day world politics. More specifically, the discussion focuses on the surge of creative resistance that have emerged in response to the erection of these two barriers. In so doing, it delves into the teichopolitical ‘spectacle’ that is played out in the global public ‘theatre’. It uncovers how walls, as historically intrinsic features of the human landscape, serve as both sights and sites in which complex politics is performed, contradicted, contested and negotiated by a multitude of actors across spatio-temporal and demographic dimensions.