|Markus||# Posted on January 8, 2015 at 13:39|
Comment on Michael Deflorian’s reflection
It is interesting to compare different languages. Michael’s point that the word “frontier” does not exist in German applies to Swedish as well. Swedish also have “gräns” or “gränsland” as the closest translation, or possibly “front”, even though “front” is a more military word than the more civil “frontier”. I think of Star Trek with its slogan “Space – the final frontier”. Frontier is not a war-word here, it is about exploration and expansion of knowledge and values, and settlement.
I too, like Michael, wonder if there can be a frontier apart from the colonial expansion use of the word, and I, too, believe not. However, in contrast to Michael, I do believe there are frontiers in today’s world. The word “frontier”, most certainly in most vivid use in the american context, really seem to entail expansion, of one kind or another. It implies dominance and linear development. There is often talk about, for instance, the “technological frontier” or the “science frontier”, which implies expansion within these areas. They are not geographical but knowledge-based frontiers. In a Baconesque interpretation, they are frontiers of our (humanity’s) subjugation of nature under our will, which resemble the idea of the American Western frontier narrative where “wilderness” was subjugated to “civilisation”. Throw in a little of Alf Hornborg’s machine fetishism analysis into the mix, and one could make the argument that this “thought structure” of colonial frontiers are actually resulting in a material, geographical neocolonialism within today’s capitalist system.
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