Frontier Making Through Territorial Processes: Qualities and Possibilities of Life



In recent years, the concept of ‘frontier’ has become an important analytical device to discuss resource-making in connection with state formation, procurement of labour, environmental destruction, transformation of landscapes, and climate change. Current rapidly shifting frontier situations suggest that the frontier becomes a useful concept in connection with territorialization, since frontiers, as open or liminal areas, give rise to efforts to map, regulate, expand, and extract in them. We propose that frontiers are spatial, temporal, and relational situations that involve territorial processes that qualify landscapes and relations between humans and other beings, such as plants, animals, and so forth. In this special issue, the authors focus on different aspects and qualities of frontier making, namely questions about territorialization, the spatio-temporal dynamics of frontiers, and the possibilities of life under frontier conditions in the Indonesian Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Finnish Lapland, and the Brazilian Amazon. In all these areas, large-scale resource extraction and struggle over different tenure regimes are on-going. The various cases show that natural resources are not generic, they are specific natural elements that are revalued as commodities and resources that can be extracted in frontier situations. The articles of this special issue show that these nature elements, beings, and lives bear a great significance on different ways frontier dynamics and territorializing processes unfold in specific locations. The papers argue that these transformative processes lend specific qualities to socionatural relationships and limits to possibilities of life.

How to Cite

Lounela, A., & Tammisto, T. (2021). Introduction: Frontier Making Through Territorial Processes: Qualities and Possibilities of Life. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 46(1), 5–14.