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Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration


Edited By Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel

This Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration is the first encyclopaedia which combines two so far not well interconnected interdisciplinary research fields, i.e. Border Studies and European Studies. Organised in an alphabetical order, it contains 207 articles written by 115 authors from different countries and scientific disciplines which are accompanied by 58 maps. The articles deal with theory, terminology, concepts, actors, themes and spaces of neighbourhood relations at European borders and in borderlands of and around the European Union (EU). Taking into account a multi-scale perspective from the local to the global, the Critical Dictionary follows a combined historical-geographical approach and is co-directed by Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel, with a large contribution of Jean Peyrony and Jean Rubio from the Mission opérationnelle transfrontalère (MOT), especially for the cartography. The Dictionary is also part of four Jean Monnet activities supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union for the period 2016-2022: two Jean Monnet projects on EU border regions (University Strasbourg), one Jean Monnet network (Frontem) and the Franco-German Jean Monnet excellence Center in Strasbourg, as well as the Jean Monnet Chair of Bernard Reitel on borders and European integration. Rather than being designed as an objective compilation of facts and figures, it should serve as a critical tool for discussion between researchers, students and practitioners working in the field of borders, cross-border cooperation and European Integration.

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The current context of the COVID 19 sanitary crisis is worrying. The pandemic which started to spread from China in January 2020, making Europe its epicentre in March/April 2020, has given rise to many fundamental questions concerning our modern society, as well as the functioning of European integration and International Relations. Whereas until now, the benefits of globalization based on growing interconnection, world-wide liberal trade and mobility were largely praised, the current situation has suddenly put an emphasis again on its disadvantages. For the spread of virus has become such a world-wide danger mainly because it was uncontrollable due to the increase of mobility of people on a global level – especially with the development of mass tourism.

For Border Studies and European integration, this situation has significant consequences. If the principle of a “Europe without borders” had already been shaken by the 2015 terrorist and migration crisis in Europe, leading to bordering processes both at the external and the internal Schengen borders of the EU, these bordering processes were not always permanent nor systematic. Instead, the coronavirus has been a “bordering earthquake”. It has resulted, one by one, and nearly in all EU member states in a reflex of complete, systematic and hermetic closure of national borders, with border controls imposed not as an exceptional measure against an identified category of people – refugees, criminals or terrorists – but as a principle protection against the “other”, i.e. the person from the other national state, who might be infected...

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