Borders Matter

Homeland Security and the Search for North America

By Daniel Drache  

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The great North American border has always been a blend of the porous and the “impermeable.” If the border, in all its aspects, is working well, then Canadian sovereignty will be effective and focused. When the fundamentals are neglected, sovereignty becomes threatened, and economic integration becomes the focus of debate.

Borders Matter examines the importance of the US-Canada border against the background of the new pressures of increased security practices and the continuing need to have a sufficiently porous border for the purpose of trade. Canadians have never been very good at defining or defending their strategic self-interest. Instead, Canadians carefully negotiate between competing nationalisms, regionalisms and localisms and the reality of being a small economy dependent on and vulnerable to US pressures. Drache points to a need for a policy model and social theory that would grasp the complex, multi-dimensional and dramatic changes to the border and ultimately help to shape the political economy and future of this country.

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  • Preface
  • Borders: Permeable and Impermeable, Canada’s Immediate Dilemma
  • A Stellar Decade For Borders But Do They Matter Any Longer
  • The Tipping Point: The New Political Geography
  • The Case for Building the North American Community: Is there One?
  • The Security First Border: North America’s Quandary
  • Active Localisms: Seeing Beyond One’s Home and Native Land


  • Daniel Drache

    York University; Massey College, University of Toronto

    Daniel Drache is Director of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and Professor of Political Science at York University. He has written widely on globalization and the limits of markets, trade blocs, employment, Harold Innis and economic integration. Presently he is heading up a major project on governance of the public domain after the triumph of markets. The Robarts Centre is engaged in a major interdisciplinary research project examining the incipient concept of the public domain in an era of globalization and exploring its multiple dimensions and overlapping components with respect to social exclusion, identity and the social bond in the hemisphere. His research interests include: the political economy of integration and social exclusion; borders and identity; North American integration; cultural discourse and public space; public goods theory and the theory of the public good; and the thought and influence of Harold Innis.

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