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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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Cross-border cooperation as practice formation. Perspectives for an alternative research approach (Christian Wille / Ulla Connor)

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Cross-border cooperation as practice formation. Perspectives for an alternative research approach

Christian WILLE, Ulla CONNOR

1.  Introduction

The scientific study of cross-border cooperation (CBC) has undergone a series of developments since its beginning in the 1970s, such as the persistent disciplinary opening of this young field of study, the changing understanding of borders and border regions, the geographical extension of the investigative focus or the resultant proximity to the European integration process. In spite of this dynamics, cooperation research is characterized by central lines and orientations, which are taken up in this article and which are expanded to include an alternative research perspective. For this purpose, we will analyze CBC from a cultural studies point of view and will put it in a cultural sociological perspective. Our approach foregrounds the immediate cooperation occurrence, abstains from explanations for seemingly causal systems and structures, and brings analytical aspects to light which so far have mostly been ignored. This approach to CBC entails a perspective which allows us to think of phenomena of inbetween starting from the object and to think space as a relational construct, materiality in its symbolic dimension, and the social as a performance. Such theoretical orientations, which might irritate (in a productive manner) scholars outside of cultural border studies, find their expressions in the practice theories which are elucidated in this article.

In order to achieve our objective, we will first provide an overview of the development...

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