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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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Border and Memory


Borders are symbols by which states, nations or local communities manifest their identity and sense of belonging. They represent often “scars of history” and affect, even if physically no more present, the collective memory and social relationship. Borderlands are places where memories of the inhabitants are encoded in urban architecture, monuments, city names and public narratives.

The 20th century brought forward multiple accounts of dynamic changes in borders. In Europe alone, there was the break-up of three Empires (i.e. the Austro-Hungarian, the Russian and the Ottoman Empire), two World Wars, the Iron Curtain and the transformation of Central East European Countries (CEECs) after the collapse of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union; all of which resulted in considerable shifts and redrawing of borders as well as mass migration and group identity (re)construction. In many cases, the rise of the sovereign states at the beginning and at the end of the 20th century required the consolidation of nations and the creation of a national identity. Collective memory along with language, religion and culture, is of major importance in shaping national identity. It integrates a community by focusing not only on authentic events but also on mythologized events, such as heroic victories or tragic acts. Various interpretations and different ways of remembering the same facts are what separate nations from one another and the consequent distinct historical narratives influence relations between nations. If anything, the limits of common memory seem to determine the boundary of a political community....

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