Anderhuber, Florian: The Development of the Southeast Asian Border Zone : A Social Theory. - Bonn, 2019. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
Online-Ausgabe in bonndoc:
author = {{Florian Anderhuber}},
title = {The Development of the Southeast Asian Border Zone : A Social Theory},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2019,
month = dec,

note = {The main objective of this thesis is the development and testing of a theory to explain the interplay of historical processes that led to the creation of the borderline between the Southern parts of China (Yunnan and Sichuan) and what is now Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. Given that many polities existed in the area, this thesis investigates the process how these entities were absorbed in the lowland states and couldn’t maintain their independence.
To that end, the development of the theoretical argumentation is based on concepts of territorialization, marginalization and state-development to bring the formation processes of the border into the context of different concepts of statehood and rule and to allow for a longue durée perspective. At the center of the theoretical argument are the ways and means of the territorial penetration of lowland states whose abilities of administrative, economic and political integration furthered a sense of otherness and so were crucial for the nexus between statehood and bordering. This process however was not a linear expansion of Southeast Asian lowland states but a cyclical contraction and expansion of contacts between lowland and upland entities who mutually informed ways of acceptance, resistance, defiance or coexistence that gradually morphed into territorialised states. Testing this model of cyclical territoriality allows to define five large cycles: from the 10th to the 15th century, from 1450s to 1600, from 1600s to the 19th century, and the creation of territorialized colonial states starting in the 19th century until the end of the Second World War.
The analysis of these cycles shows that agency and control-mechanisms on both the sides of lowland states as well as upland states mutually informed actions and provided possibilities so that independent entities could maintain their existence sometimes over centuries in this border-region. At the same time, it refutes the narrative of predatory lowland and defensive upland entities, but provides insights on the complex management and leveraging of interrelations that often provided mutually beneficial equilibria, the disruption of which led to new cycles of integration or disintegration. This thesis also accounts for the internal dynamism and motivations of both lowland states and entities in the border-region to explain their actions and objectives and to provide insights how this contributed to the transformation of this area from a central hub of knowledge and economic transfer into a marginalized border-region.
By going beyond linear models of state-development or statist ideas of territoriality, a century-long back-and-forth process of negotiation, integration and dissolution of statelets in the border area becomes visible that eventually formed a system that could accommodate the very different trajectories of state-building, territorial expansion and consolidation of the larger lowland-states. The formation of equilibria of interests and constantly changing fault-lines of territoriality followed certain trendlines yet not in a linear or congruent way. Over time economic and political determinants produced changes and asymmetric relations that in the long run fostered integration within teritorially stabilized states. This thesis shows that these trend lines can be understood as the aggregation of many smaller actions and developments on the ground that finally brought the border area into the fold of the lowland states. Entities in the border-region were far more than a playing ball between different lowland centers of power but boasted their own capabilities of agency and so created a dynamics that led to a congruence of the intention to exert control and to have this control manifested in a spatial view of possession and contained within a demarcated space – a border.},

url = {}

The following license files are associated with this item: