We received some fantastic nominations for the first PolGRG book award highlighting the breadth and depth of research being undertaken in Political Geography. After careful consideration, we are delighted to announce that the winner is ‘Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move’ by Reece Jones.
In the words of the panel, Reece Jones, Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move (2016, Verso):
‘deals with one of the timeliest topics at the top of the global political agenda. Depicting a wide-ranging overview of the global migrant crisis and the on-going expansion of violent borders by nation states, the book engages with the resurgence of borders and the inevitable outcome of growing numbers of migrants and refugees from unstable and insecure war-torn countries attempting to move to safer and more prospers parts of the world. The book aims to highlight the vast dichotomies and inequalities between nations in a globalising world. Jones argues that restrictions over mobility that prioritize citizens’ rights over human rights give rise to violence, leading to death and suffering at mass scale. The book goes beyond this and brings to the fore the structural violence at borders arguing that they should be abolished in a quest to make the world a better place for the many living in insecurity and poverty rather then continuing to privilege the wealthy few.’
‘This book deals with political geography at its core. Jones engages with one of the unprecedented topics studied by political geographers at the heart of the discipline, namely with the changing nature of border between nation states and resurgence of violence. This wide ranging tome encompasses both politically heated contemporary cases from the European migrant crises and the Mediterranean mass watery graves to the US Mexico Trump border wall. Jones argues that borders have always been part of the human world and functioned to exclude those seen as unwanted strangers. The book engages widely with questions of race and ethnicity and their relation to the politics of territorial exclusion and violence across both geographical scales and different historic epochs. From hunter-gatherers to the recent Syrian crisis pinpointing it as one of the influential political geography books published in recent times.’
‘Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move, is an important read for students and academics of political geography and social sciences more generally. The storyline is enhanced by Jones’s fieldwork and real-life descriptions of those who are controlled by the operation of borders. Jones does not retreat into narrow theoretical or conceptual discussions. From hunter-gatherers to the recent Syrian crisis pinpointing it as one of the influential political geography books published in recent times.’
Many thanks to all those who made nominations and congratulations to Reece Jones who will receive an award from PolGRG sponsored by Political Geography/Elsevier of £100, and an opportunity to hold an Author meets Critics session at the annual RGS-IBG meeting in Cardiff 2018, leading to a book award review forum published in Political Geography.