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

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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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Sports

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The various dimensions of sport give it properties within the fields of politics, economics and culture, or in the voluntary sector. From the practice of recreational activities (in clubs, private facilities or in public or natural areas) to sporting competitions, from amateur to professional structures, sport is a medium for entertainment as well as a pretext for health or integration policies.

The analysis of a European border-crossing context, more specifically in the context of territories with hard borders, shows that sport is present in state policies designed to foster bilateral cooperation. The organisation of cross-border sports events – whether by policy officials or intermediate players – can be used as a means of promoting cooperation or a guarantee of success. The language barrier, often cited as a major difficulty in peoples’ interactions and cross-cultural exchanges, could be easier to overcome by resorting to “body language” and by the common reference to international sports rules.

A brief overview of the policies pursued by cross-border cooperation at the example of the Upper Rhine Region shows that sport is not as prevalent in comparison to other exchanges. Economic issues are a core element of cooperation, even if this includes touristic and cultural actions, reinforcing territorial attractiveness. Cross-border sport – when organised and broadcast – serves political interests, which exceed sporting or cultural dimensions.

In the particular case of the Strasbourg-Ortenau Eurodistrict – the sports policy of which we analyzed over the course of eight years (2010 to 2018) – we noticed...

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