The Borders That Shape Us: Understanding Borders as a Social Construct

Presentation by Marwa El Chab

This presentation is an invitation for researchers in social sciences to self-reflect over their own practices and the biases of their disciplines. Lessons will be drawn out of anthropology – which is Marwa‘s personal introduction to research - while the aim is to expand this train of thoughts to the larger category of social sciences. The purpose of this presentation is to address our tendencies, as researchers, to erect borders just as we are calling others to bring down their own. Borders are tools created by humans to help us comprehend our existence on this planet, small amount at a time. Borders are embedded in our mind’s map of the world, so much that we cannot unsee them.  Borders are embedded in the intellectual tools we use to understand the world.

Therefore, the message of this presentation is not about breaking borders so much as it is about knowing that we are the creators of our own world. We define borders – they exist because we accept them. Borders are everywhere, at all time. They define the way we view the world, they define what we agree and disagree on. They define our stereotypes, and ultimately, they define who we are. Our challenge as scientists in today’s world is in acknowledging those borders, their nature, their temporality, their use and purpose, while making sure to always leave room for new frontiers to be achieved.




Marwa El Chab, a doctor in Social Anthropology, aims to assist academics and international organisations to understand the complexities of economic markets and their underlying social, political and religious issues. Before starting her market consultancy business, Marwa conducted a seven year long doctoral project investigating Lebanese entrepreneurship in Abidjan, Dakar and Ouagadougou. After a successful study, offering an eye-opening socio-economic insight into these businesses in West Africa, Marwa now uses her research and creative writing skills to compose with her multidisciplinary interests: Anthropology, Economics, Political Sciences, History, Mythology, Psychology, and Art. She advises NGOs, International Organisations and Business groups on how to best understand African and Middle-Eastern markets.
Marwa enjoys painting, pottery, dancing tango, and reading. Her desire to learn new things is only matched by her passion to educate others about the beauty and wonder of the world. 
Marwa is available for your consultations and writing projects. You can reach Marwa at 0033 6 68 39 59 33 or marwaelchab@gmail.com.
Marwa El Chab received a scholarship of ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius within the programme "Settling Into Motion", focusing on migration studies, in 2013-15.