‘Working the Border’ Risk and Interagency Communication At an International Airport (2009)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. School of Social and Political Sciences
AuthorsTolerton, Mason Johnshow all
This thesis seeks to answer the ‘key question’: ‘how is the border worked at an international airport?’ To answer this key question the author, who is employed as a Customs officer, uses participant observation to provide material for an anthropological analysis of this question. The primary anthropological focus that will permeate throughout this thesis is interconnectedness of human and non human actors. This focus on interconnectedness will be linked to the ability of the workers of the border to communicate about risk to one another. Risk at the border is highly political following the terrorist attacks of September 11 (9/11). The attacks are not a focus of this thesis but a study of the border network will shed some light on how the workers of the border make sense of external factors such as these attacks (9/11) in their work world. The thesis accounts for links between the border workers of different government agencies and uses the idea of an occupational community to do so. The thesis will attempt to account for technologies within the border network. The account of technologies will demonstrate through an actor network approach their hybrid nature, and their ability to negotiate and renegotiate the border network. Power is analysed at the border through the ideas of Foucault. Though the idea of occupational community, actor network theory and the ideas of Foucault on power are not linked outside of this thesis in any way, they provide an honest account of the border network as expressed through the case study of risk and interagency communication at an international airport.