Frontiers, Borders, Limits, and Geography?

Marcello Tanca


The adjective "geographic" does not draw upon what is conceived and opposed to "cultural" elements, but what is resultant of the meeting and exploration of cultural trajectories - boundaries that men establish and realize to contact with the earth's reality, and their societies therein. The historian Lucien Febvre, Paul Vidal de La Blache's student and friend, wrote "in geography no issue is more important than subdivisions one". At the concept of natural frontiers (that until the 700's, indicated a physical element with greater visibility and stability over and above  any man's work), during the eighteenth century,  the problem of subdivision brought with it complications - ergo,  the identification of a criterion to divide the earth surface in parts. Now since the evidence of each geographical representation is actually the product of a self performative mechanism (Dematteis), this should ensure that we contribute, with all our collective practices, to give a meaning and a symbolic function to physical objects,  frontiers, boundaries and limits. In this respect, individual views lose the often fixed aspect of personal opinion, and the connotation of what is "natural", assumes a different cognitive meaning, along with the political and symbolic points of view that mankind often embraces.


Subdivision; Frontier; Boundary; Geography; Epistemology

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