<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Violent Borders


Violent Borders Cover

Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move

2018 PolGRG Book Award from the journal Political Geography and the Political Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society

2017 Julian Minghi Distinquished Book Award from the American Association of Geographers Political Geography Specialty Group

Boston Globe Recommended Book for Fall 2016

Verso website


Forty thousand human beings died trying to cross international borders in the past decade, with the high profile deaths along the shores of Europe only accounting for half of the grisly total. These deaths are not exceptional, but rather the result of state attempts to contain populations and control access to resources and opportunities. Drawing on field research in border regions around the world, Violent Borders documents the billions of dollars spent on border security projects and their dire consequences for the majority of the people in the world.  While the poor are restricted by the lottery of birth to slums and the aftershocks of decolonization, the wealthy travel freely, exploiting pools of cheap labor and lax environmental regulations. With the growth of borders and resource enclosures, the deaths of migrants in search of a better life are intimately connected to climate change, the growth of slums, and the persistence of global wealth inequality.


"One of the most influential Political Geography books published in recent times" - Political Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society

"Powerful book ... essential reading ... Some of the passages are so insightful as to merit notation, repetition, and a subsequent call to arms." - Robert Barsky, Oxford Border Criminologies

"With the building of border walls and the deaths of migrants much in the news, this work is both timely and necessarily provocative." - Kirkus Reviews

“In an era of terrorism, global inequality, and rising political tension over migration, Jones argues that tight border controls make the world worse, not better" - Boston Globe, recommended book

"This is a deeply important analysis of the changing role and impact of the border. It joins the dots between many of the world's current migration crises, and in the process provides a fascinating alternative history of human movement, and of property, sovereignty and the state. An essential read for anyone hoping to understand the world in the early 21st century." - Patrick Kingsley, migration correspondent, The Guardian

"‘Are humans defined primarily by our attachments to place or by movement?’ Reece Jones asks at the end of Violent Borders. I’m not sure a choice has to be made. People develop attachments to places, they move, they develop attachments to new places, and to new people. If you think people have a right to do that, then the question is how to support it. If you don’t, then you need to ask yourself: what level of violence are you prepared to tolerate to keep people in their place?" - The London Review of Books

"This book is an excellent contribution to our understanding of how border regimes sustain global injustice — and how its victims are fighting back." - The Morning Star

"This book is a valuable antidote to the xenophobia sweeping the privileged nations of the Northern Hemisphere." - East Bay Express

"Radical and accessible, Violent Borders is a timely, thought-provoking read, providing a better understanding of today’s refugee crisis." -The Indy Online

"the book makes a perfect combination of the literary flourishes of a fiction writer with academic rigor. ... In short, the book is a fabulous and insightful read" - Eurasian Border Review

"Violent Borders tells us a great deal about the harms caused by borders." - LSE Review of Books

"Whatever their disciplinary background, those writing about borders and migration ought to tackle long-held assumptions: about the supposed crises precipitated by refugee movements and the alleged timelessness of nation-states and borders. Maley and Jones do that particularly well." - Australian Book Review

"For Jones, this shows that the institutions of the modern state are essentially violent: they are the means of controlling territory and population in the interests of a dominant elite, financial or political, or both." - New Statesman

"highly readable book...It is fundamental to understand and re-articulate this basic analysis in our current historical moment." - Dominic Davies, Review31

“I'd like an endless supply of Reece Jones’ Violent Borders to hand out to all the people I meet who flirt with an anti-refugee sensibility. This book is the antidote to the world of walls that we live in, an argument for a world of humanity.” - Vijay Prashad, The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South

“A much-needed counter to a thousand newspaper columns calling on us to secure our borders, Reece Jones’ Violent Borders goes beyond the headlines to look at the deeper causes of the migration crisis. Borders, Jones convincingly argues, are a means of inflicting violence on poor people. This is an engaging and lucid analysis of a much misunderstood issue.” – Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims Are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror

“From early modern land enclosures through Westphalian state formation to the current fortification of the US–Mexico frontier, Reece Jones explains what a boundary is, and how national sovereignty is being reinforced, in an age of capital mobility, by the crackdown on human movement across borders.” – Jeremy Harding, author of Border Vigils: Keeping Migrants Out of the Rich World