This article addresses the contrasting pull of two tendencies in anthropology: (a) calls to redress the purification of human from non-human actants and (b) calls to denaturalise notions of borders as things, foregrounding borderwork. The resulting dilemma - do we treat people and things as equivalent actants on a 'flat' plane or not?- is explored through an ethnographic exercise on the border that divides Sarajevo. This case study crystallises methodological possibilities, implications for critique and matters of accountability presented by either path. Ultimately, I argue, a focus on things is productive insofar as it functions within a focus on human practice. © 2013 European Association of Social Anthropologists.