Borders of desire

Gender and sexuality at the Eastern borders of Europe

Edited by Elissa Helms and Tuija Pulkkinen

Borders of desire
Hardcover +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526165213
  • Publish Date: Jun 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526165206
  • Publish Date: Jun 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6520-6
    • Published Date: June 2023
    • Series: Rethinking Borders


    Borders of desire takes a novel approach to the study of borders: rather than seeing them only as obstacles to the fulfillment of human desires, this collection focuses on how borders can also be productive of desire. Based on long-term ethnographic engagement with sites along the eastern borders of Europe, particularly in the Baltics and the Balkans, the studies in this volume illuminate how gendered and sexualized desires are generated by the existence of borders and how they are imagined. As the chapters show, borders can create new desires expressed as aspirations, resentments, and actions including physical movements across borders for pleasure or work, or collective enactments of political ideals or resistance. The collection also shows how the persistent east/west symbolic border continues to act as a source of these desires in European political and social life.


    "Within a literature and dominant political discourse that overwhelmingly continue to view borders as obstacles, this book regards borders as performative: it asks what borders 'do', rather than what they 'are'. By asking how borders produce-rather than only thwart-desires, the authors look afresh at the many ways gender and sexuality are at issue in border crossing. Considering desire, they return attention to the agency, humanity and imagination of border crossers and offer a glimpse into the complexity of their dreams, their decision-making and their experiences."
    Jane Cowan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of Sussex


    Introduction: Gender, sexuality, and desire at the eastern borders of Europe - Elissa Helms and Tuija Pulkkinen

    1 Crossing the lines on Lesvos: Navigating overlapping borders in the Aegean - Sarah Green

    2 Transgressing realities: Desire and the border in the southern Balkans - Rozita Dimova

    3 How do borders produce ethno-sexualisation and lived senses of sexuality? Insights from lives of Latvian women in Guernsey - Aija Lulle

    4 Moving desire: Multiple lives and desires in border-crossing prostitution - May-Len Skilbrei

    5 Sex, love, and a better future: Gendered desire in the narratives of women from post-socialist countries in Italy and Finland - Anastasia Diatlova and Lena Näre

    6 The hero and the 'whore': Croatia's sexualized and gendered (self-)ascriptions and its desire for European belonging - Michaela Schäuble

    7 Desires for past and future in border crossings on the Finnish-Russian border - Olga Davidova-Minguet and Pirjo Pöllänen

    8 Desire to resist: EU border-making and anti-LGBT mobilization in Serbia - Katja Kahlina and Dusica Ristivojevic?


    Elissa Helms is Associate Professor in the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University, Vienna

    Tuija Pulkkinen is Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Helsinki

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