For example, through the medium of culture individuals internalise the line, the border, between the sacred and the profane, between good and evil, between adult and child.
Although these distinctions can appear as arbitrary, they provide the cultural resources through which people understand their day-to-day lives.
For us at that moment, the border to the West appeared as a magical door to a new wonderful future.
From the perspective of history, we were fortunate; as suggested by the recent experience of many refugees coming to Europe, borders are often less magical doors than insurmountable walls.
’, asked my older sister on a wet and cold November night back in 1956.
The Furedi family was on the move, anxious to escape the Stalinist regime in Hungary and cross the border to Austria.
Throughout history, the fundamental human aspiration to move freely and cross boundaries has coexisted with the fundamental human yearning for the reassurance provided by secure borders.
Human beings have migrated throughout history, and often these well-travelled people later turn their energies towards drawing borders. The drawing of borders is a psychological and cultural phenomenon, too.
So borders are not just physical and geographical realities; they also have a powerful symbolic significance through which communities gain insights into themselves and the meaning of their existence.
People’s very sense of social reality is often forged, and internalised, through their engagement with symbolic boundaries.