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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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Examining aspects of cross-border cooperation from a sociological standpoint. Contributing to a toolbox of transdiciplinary analysis in the social sciences (Cédric Duchêne-Lacroix)

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← 146 | 147 →

Examining aspects of cross-border cooperation from a sociological standpoint. Contributing to a toolbox of transdiciplinary analysis in the social sciences

Cédric DUCHÊNE-LACROIX

“The border is not [first of all] a spatial fact with sociological impact, but a sociological fact that takes shape spatially” (Simmel, 1908a).



The Kappeler Milk Soup, Albert Anker, 1869 ← 147 | 148 →

1.  Janus: The God who separates and divides

A joyful encounter in hostile attire: The soldiers of the two warring armies, who should have been fighting each other, are organizing a shared meal, a milk soup, on the common border of their respective territories, while in the distance their leaders are negotiating a truce. The context is the First War of Kappel (1529) that would end without a single battle being fought. Whether true, false or merely fiction, this legendary episode in Swiss history brings to mind many social aspects of cross-border cooperation. What are we stating if we define cross-border cooperation as an institutionalized collective action that generates links and common solutions between two or more local authorities on either side of a shared border? A breeding ground of paradoxes under tension: at the very core of this definition surface the paradoxes of the “common” and “separation,” of the interplay of territorial, social, and cultural interlocking, as well as the grade of the border and its crossing and liberation, paradoxes which Janus, the ancient god of gates...

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