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Transdisciplinary Discourses on Cross-Border Cooperation in Europe

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Edited By Joachim Beck

In the context of European integration, cross-border cooperation has become increasingly important. Following both the quantitative and qualitative expansion of this policy-field, it has repeatedly been the subject of scientific analysis in the past. However, as a result of the classical differentiation of the scientific system, it was mostly viewed from a monodisciplinary perspective. This publication aims at the foundation of a trans-disciplinary research approach in the field of European cross-border cooperation. It takes the multi-dimensional reality of practical territorial cooperation in Europe as a starting point and develops a transdisciplinary scientific approach. Based on a common analytic frame of reference, practical patterns of cross-border policy-making in different European border regions are analyzed from the integrated theoretical perspectives of various scientific disciplines: Political Science, Geography, Sociology, History, Law, Cultural Sciences and Socio-Linguistics, Economics and Administrative Science. The scientific conceptualizations are expanded by reports from practitioners coming from different institutional and functional levels of European cross-border policy-making.

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Borders and cross-border cooperation in Europe from a perspective of political sciences (Hynek Böhm)

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Borders and cross-border cooperation in Europe from a perspective of political sciences

Hynek BÖHM

1.  Introduction of borders and cross-border co-operation from the field of political sciences

The symbolic meanings, functional impacts and socio-political significance of borders are in fact central to understanding the overall significance of European Union as a project of political community building (Scott, 2016). This makes both borders and cross-border co-operation (CBC) a highly-relevant research issue also for political scientist.

Political scientists primarily focus their attention on systems of governance. They analyse political activities, thoughts and behaviour. Political science deals with the theory and practice of politics. The key word they are working with is power and the ways in which this power is executed. The ambition of political scientists is studying, conceptualizing and constructing general principles, which rule the execution of politics.

The power is executed in concrete geographical and administrative units, which are defined inter alia by boundaries, which are mostly expressed geographically. These boundaries draw differences and constitute barriers and have manifold meanings, be it psychological, mental or linguistic barriers. The field of play for political scientists has to a large extend been determined by the barrier function of the borders, as these clearly identify the territory of unit to be governed.

We will use different terms in the text, hence a basic distinction at least between boundary and frontier is provided, based on Jańczak’s...

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