Steffen Mau


Mercator Fellowship Program

Period of the Fellowship


Project title

Borders and territoriality

Project description

The project explores how borders and border controls have changed in the 21st century. It shows on the basis of research that the idea of borders being removed by globalization is very one-sided and that there are some powerful contrary trends. In parallel developments, borders are being removed and fortified, countries are opening themselves up and isolating themselves, and borders are being dismantled and erected. The key questions in this context are as follows: How do borders operate as sorting mechanisms these days? Which form do they take, and which functions do they perform? And finally, what role is played by territorial control in the 21st century?

Short biography

Steffen Mau is a professor of macrosociology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. After completing a degree in Berlin, he obtained a PhD at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence. He was a professor of political sociology at the University of Bremen from 2003 to 2014. He addresses questions of transnationalization, social inequality and Europeanization. He is a member of Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW). Important recent publications: The Metric Society. On the Quantification of the Social (2019, Polity), Lütten Klein. Leben in der ostdeutschen Transformationsgesellschaft (2019, Suhrkamp).