This study deal with the qualitative difference between governing nation-states and peoples' lived experiences. Borderlands are places on the edge of states and thus provide a starting point to view state powers' influences on people living in places. Gibraltar then is a border town and a British dependency territory at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula and has been a source of tensions for nearly 300 years. The tensions are rooted in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) where Gibraltar where ceded to Britain. However, the treaty gave Spain right of "first refusal" should Britain ever decide to relinquish sovereignty over Gibraltar. Although it seems that Britain wants to conceal the Gibraltar question to not sour the relation with Spain, according to the Gibraltar's constitution (1969), Britain is committed to continue her presence in Gibraltar as long as the Gibraltarians wish it. In other words, Britain can neither give Gibraltar to Spain nor to the Gibraltarians. Spain, on the other hand, has tried to regain Gibraltar since Britain's capture of it. But Gibraltarians do not wish to become Spanish citizens, which is their worst nightmare, as we will see in this thesis.
Thus I argue that those who live in borderlands experience the border differently than state powers to which borders become abstract lines on a map. It will be seen that, when the border between Spain and Gibraltar starts to be blurred or endangered, Gibraltarians feel an ontological uncertainty, and border maintenance becomes crucial. This is seen in the HMS Tireless event when Britain decided to repair a faulty nuclear powered submarine in Gibraltar. Although Gibraltarians are concerned about risk with the repair, it becomes secondary. Instead the Gibraltar question emerges - that is "who owns Gibraltar?" - and Gibraltarians struggle to maintain their status as a distinct people. Hence, to Gibraltarians who are being-in-place, the event was "deep play."