NIAS Thesis Proposal Presentation: "Spatializing Nation-state through the Discourses of Development and Security at the Borderland: A Case Study of Tawang" by Ms. Sherin Ajin, Lecture Hall, NIAS, 1445hrs

National Institute of Advanced Studies

Indian Institute of Science Campus

Bengaluru-560 012


Thesis Proposal Presentation



Spatializing Nation-state through the Discourses of Development and

Security at the Borderland: A Case Study of Tawang



Ms. Sherin Ajin

Tuesday, 29 August 2017,  Lecture Hall, NIAS, 2.45 pm




Abstract: The Westphalian imagination of modern state is firmly anchored in the concept of territory, where the geodesy of border becomes the marker of the limits of the sovereign power. This in furtherance forges the identity of the people who live within the sovereign limits of the state as its ‘citizens’. Thus, as Schendel opines, the space of borderland become sites of “national anxiety”, which are to be diligently guarded.

Though state is not to be perceived as a supra entity in the social contractarian traditions, more than often, descriptively, Westphalian scheme accords an “all encompassing, superior” stature to the state (Ferguson& Gupta). This in turn runs the risk of state subduing the processes of society.

Substantively, “the imagined community” of nation is rarely congruent with the geometry of state, thus making the appellation of nation-state more of an ideation. Nevertheless, owing to the strategic significance, the space of borderland becomes a perpetual theatre of the relentless pursuit of materialisation of the nation-state. Development and security being the twin co-opted discourses meticulously employed in the making of nation-state at the borderland.

However, in the real world, borderlands are never hermetically sealed static entities. Neither are borderland societies passive recipients of state led enterprises. Beyond the geometry of boundary, borderland is a lived space where meanings are created and recreated in the everydayness of life.

This proposed research intends to understand the interface between the spatialisation of nation-state at the borderland through development and security vis-à-vis the processes that shape native population’s understanding of borderland, which also happens to be their home. For this, the proposed study would employ the case study of the Sino-Indian borderland of Tawang.


 All are invited to attend

Tuesday, August 29, 2017