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Webs, Walls, and Wars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-313
JournalGlobal Crime
Issue number3-4
Early online date12 May 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 May 2016


King's Authors


Walls, physical barriers for channelling, slowing, or (more rarely) preventing, network flows are an increasingly prevalent social technology in our seemingly ever more connected world. They are employed by a wide range of actors, both state and non-state, as a means of bolstering resilience against a similarly wide range of perceived threats. With few exceptions, the literature decries this development, seeing it as manifestation of xenophobia, anti-urbanism, and generally being inimical to the existence of a just and peaceful world order. By contrast, this paper contends using historical examples combined with insights from cybernetics and natural sciences that walls are no more intrinsically bad than unfettered flows are intrinsically good. A peaceful and prosperous world order, one which is neither a stagnant securocracy nor a perennially unstable chaoplex, depends upon a balance between the two.

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