C01 “Who Is the Animal in the Zoo?”

Kristina Korte
5. July 2020

“Who Is the Animal in the Zoo?” Fencing In and Fencing Out at the Hungarian-Serbian Border. A Qualitative Case Study

In 2015, Hungary commenced the building of a fence at its border with Serbia. The current article investigates the Hungarian-Serbian border fence in terms of its meaning in the two countries. Building on recent re-bordering research, it analyzes the context within which the fencing took place, stressing both the domestic and the international dimension. Based on qualitative interviews and a document analysis for Hungary and Serbia, it argues that the fence did not create a conflict between the two neighbors – instead, the international entanglement of the border led to a complex bordering process that extended bilateral relations. In Hungary, the border fortification was used for internal political motives and at the same time aimed to exclude non-European migrants. Due to political circumstances and the filter function of the fence, the Serbian government likewise managed to exploit the border fortification to its advantage. The article introduces the concept of ‘fencing in and fencing out’ in order to analyze the control function that the fence performs on both sides of the border.

Accessible here: