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Creating and Contesting Boundaries: Exploring the Dynamics of Conflict and Classification

Abstract

While it is clear that cultural boundaries shape the ways we think and act, the processes by which some emerge as dominant while others languish is less well understood. Drawing on a case study of a conflict among climbers, I show how an innovation's evolution from heresy to orthodoxy was shaped by the relationship between borders enacted by players on different sides of the issue. I argue that because boundaries emerge in an interactional nexus, the nature of the boundaries that prevail can only be understood in the context of prior boundaries through and against which they are created.

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Fuller, S. Creating and Contesting Boundaries: Exploring the Dynamics of Conflict and Classification. Sociological Forum 18, 3–30 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022698511053

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  • boundaries
  • innovation
  • conflict
  • culture