Examples of boundaries that are relevant to civic life include national borders, electoral districts, the membership lists of organizations and associations, and the limits of watersheds and forests. All of these mark distinctions between inside and outside.

Boundaries that exclude should be critically evaluated; the exclusion may be unjust. At the same time, research on cooperation strongly suggests that “clear boundaries” help people to work together and avoid problems of collective action. It may be important to have a discussion about changing or abolishing a boundary, yet effective discussions usually occur within bounded groups, such as organizations that have defined members or negotiating teams who sit together at a table.

Therefore, it is important to be thoughtful about boundaries without necessarily rejecting them.

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