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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 Discontinuities


A discontinuity can be defined as an exceptional dissimilarity between two neighbouring spatial units or two homogeneous regions.

Discontinuities therefore firstly imply the definition of a coherent set of areal units covering the study area. They can be observed at different scales: discontinuities between states of the world or a continent; discontinuities between regions of Europe; discontinuities between administrative units of a country; discontinuities between local authorities or neighbourhoods inside a metropolitan area. The statistical homogeneity and the political relevance of territorial units is a crucial condition for the interpretation of discontinuities. Different territorial divisions can indeed produce different patterns of discontinuities. Some patterns are without interest because they are related to statistical biases and not genuine social differences.

The second criteria for the analysis of discontinuity is the choice of different attributes of areal units associated to a criteria of dissimilarity. In the simplest case, the attribute is a single quantitative criterion like the fertility rate of the population. But even in the case of a single quantitative attribute, different measure of dissimilarity can be chosen for the measurement of discontinuities. The specialists from spatial statistics generally use dissimilarity based on variance or covariance of indicators for the measurement of spatial heterogeneity at local level. However, other criteria can be used depending on the research hypothesis. For example, the cartography of the discontinuities of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)/capita between EU regions will reveal very different patterns when we compare absolute...

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