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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 in Europe as an object in transdisciplinary research. An introduction (Joachim Beck)

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INTRODUCTION

Cross-border cooperation in Europe as an object in transdisciplinary research. An introduction

Joachim BECK

The history of Europe can be understood as one of constantly shifting borders. During its development, Europe has only seen a few phases in which borders, as symbols of political administrative spheres of organization, were stable for protracted periods and hence neither provided reasons for nor sites for conflict. In addition to their linguistic, cultural, geographical, economic, and human dimensions, borders throughout Europe invariably were symbols of state rule, notably in the wake of the formation of nation states. In addition to state authority and its constitutive population in the so-called Three Elements Theory, borders form an integral part of the conventional definition of the state as external boundaries of state territory. Hence, until the beginning of the post-1945 European integration process, borders right across Europe were to become synonymous with closed-mindedness and barriers; securing them constituted a crucial task for the state.

Hence, approaches aimed at promoting cooperation between actors across existing national borders in Europe have been receiving particular attention in both science and praxis, especially since World War II. Cross-border cooperation, and the implied change in function from a closed to an open border, was from a very preliminary stage understood as a micro-foreign policy, deliberately differentiated from other forms of cooperation that had been intensified at the nation-state level after the World War II across Europe. The earliest beginnings...

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