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Policing the FrontierAn Ethnography of Two Worlds in Niger$
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Mirco Göpfert

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501747212

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501747212.001.0001

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On the Significance of the Frontier

(p.139) Postscript
Policing the Frontier

Mirco Göpfert

Cornell University Press

This postscript studies the significance of the frontier. The frontier-space is not only the borderland between life governed by public institutions and life outside of the state's grasp; it is also the site where bureaucracy and the world it is charged with managing meet and the tension between the two becomes tangible. This tension then gives birth to a particular condition of doing and being. As such, the frontier is a project that aims to extend its reach beyond its confines. It is right here at the frontier where the prevailing moral standards become palpable, and it is right here that the value of the modern state, of bureaucracy, and of the gendarme's work must be judged. Understood as a space, a condition, and a project with particular stakes, the idea of the frontier can be of heuristic significance for the understanding of bureaucracy, the postcolonial condition, and for the project of anthropology and social theory.

Keywords:   frontier, bureaucracy, moral standards, modern state, gendarme, postcolonial condition, anthropology, social theory

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