In judging a boundary from a geographer's point of view many physical as well as human aspects come under consideration. Stress has shifted from one aspect of the problem to another according to the particular bias of the times.At the time of the Paris peace conferences, geographers shared the general opinion that the linguistic factor should receive the greatest consideration in determining boundaries between national states. Language was regarded as the best criterion for drawing boundaries which would recognize what was called at that date "the right of self-determination." It was a new factor in diplomatic negotiations. Shift of emphasis from physical features to cultural characteristics as bases for boundary lines reflected the popular swing toward self-determination.
Readers of Perspectives will hopefully have noticed that in recent issues we have instituted a new practice of supplementing our journal's long-standing four-field classification of all books under review with a fifth "theme" section of book reviews—on such topics as gender and politics, democratization, and most recently immigration politics. This addition signifies more than a change of scholarly bookkeeping or journal formatting. It represents one of many ways that we have sought to bridge and to reconfigure standard subfield and methodological divides in our profession, and to open up new and more problem-oriented ways of thinking about the thing our profession is presumably organized to study—politics.
This issue of Polity contains six articles that explore the origins, workings, and permeability of different types of boundaries. All the articles mix empirical observation and theoretical reflection as they examine how social practices, such as patronage, philanthropy, and public prayer, affect citizens' loyalties and images of friend and foe. Adapted from the source document.