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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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Borderscapes can be defined as socio-political panoramas that emerge around border contexts and that connect the realm of high politics with that of communities and individuals who are affected by and negotiate borders. The notion of borderscapes is thus an important elaboration on the concept of bordering, or the more fundamental process of creating socio-spatial distinctions at various scales by multiple actors. While bordering has become a central paradigm within the study of borders, several scholars have suggested that the borderscapes concept provides greater inclusiveness in terms of relating everyday experience to border-making.

The borderscapes concept breaks down sharp divisions between territorial and relational understandings of borders. According to Chiara Brambilla, borderscapes express “the (geo)political and epistemic multidimensionality of the border, enabling a productive understanding of the processual, de-territorialized and dispersed nature of borders and their ensuing regimes in the era of globalization and transnational flows.” The term borderscape puts greater emphasis on representations of borders as well as individual and collective practices of border-making, which shape political subjectivities in specific situations. Epistemologically, the approach connects border experiences with border-making practices.

With regard to the symbolic communication of borders and their significance, the concept of borderscapes can also provide links between cognitive processes and the construction of socio-cultural borders. Borderscapes are contexts where cultural appropriations and social contestations become visible via a broad repertory of communicative means and strategies. As Brambilla herself states in an interview, borderscapes consist of spatial practices in the...

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