CfP: Living in European Borderlands

Universite du LuxembourgLiving in European Borderlands – International Workshop

Deadline: 31 March 2014.

Borderlands studies look beyond the historical facticity of territorial borders by reflecting their porousness and the actual processes of their crossing and maintenance. We invite scholars from anthropology, sociology, human geography, history and related fields working on European borderlands to present their research on everyday practices and experiences of living in a borderland. Papers can be empirical and/or conceptual relating to: dwelling, work and consumption, identity constructions, cross-border suburbanisation and urban/rural relations in borderlands. We are particularly interested in work on conceptual and methodological problems and in comparative and historical approaches.

Border studies are broadly interested in national borders and the movement across these by people, goods, services and communication. The emerging ‘borderlands studies’ further strengthen this interest by considering the specificity of what is developing alongside the lines on the land at the border. Borderlands studies with the conceptual assumption that borderlands are distinct due to intensive exchange across the border and ensuing forms of reciprocal influence, look beyond the historical facticity of territorial borders by reflecting their porousness and the actual processes of their crossing and maintenance.

Borderlands studies are simultaneously inspired by two different considerations: on the one hand they relate the perceived increase in integration and movement across national borders to globalisation and the concurrent acceleration and shrinking of the world; on the other hand, they regard the short-distance (and often regionally confined) crossings of national borders as a discrete (and not necessarily modern) phenomenon.

The claim that borderlands are distinct implies a thematically more inclusive approach beyond a focus on mobility. Borderlands studies thus stimulate empirical research that looks at everyday practices in borderlands more broadly and from various disciplinary angles, including practices that relate to mobility and others that relate to sedentariness.

We invite scholars from different disciplines (anthropology, sociology, human geography, history and related fields) working on European borderlands to present their research on everyday practices and experiences of living in a borderland at a workshop that will take place from 20-22 November 2014 at the University of Luxembourg.

The workshop is hosted by the research project “Cross border residence. Identity experience and integration processes in the Greater Region” (CBRES), realized conjointly by the Institute for History at the University of Luxembourg and the CEPS/INSTEAD Luxembourg. The project looks at German villages in the Luxembourg/German borderland that have experienced a significant influx of new residents from Luxembourg. Using qualitative and quantitative methods and comparing four different villages we are trying to understand the ways in which these emerging borderland social constellations shape, and are shaped by, everyday practices and how they impact upon individual and collective identities.

We are thus particularly interested in contributions dealing with cross border residential migration in other European borderlands. Starting from this specific research field, where “living in borderlands” is understood in the narrow sense of residing at a border – including the processes of settling and homemaking across the border and the experiences of gradually getting acquainted with new neighbours stemming from the other side of the border – we also welcome work on other aspects of daily borderland practices.

Papers can be empirical and/or conceptual relating to the following themes:

Dwelling, work and consumption in borderlands

transnational action spaces; (un)familiarity as an element of daily practices; interactions between residential and daily mobility

Identity constructions in borderlands

intersection of local, regional, national identification and various aspects of socio-cultural differentiation

Historical perspectives on borderlands

processes of de-bordering and re-bordering; border memories

Cross-border suburbanisation and urban/rural relations

rural urbanity; urban development and urban sprawl differentials

Sedentariness and mobility in borderlands

conceptual problems, methodological approaches, the relationship of Borderland Studies to research on migration and globalisation

Comparative approaches looking at particular borderlands

Submission guidelines

Please submit 250 word long abstract to and by 31 March 2014.

For more information on the project CBRES, please visit

Head of the project: Dr. Elisabeth Boesen
Research Associate: Dr. Gregor Schnuer
Realised in cooperation with CEPS/INSTEAD and Forum EUROPA
CBRES also participates in the project IDENT2 – Strategies of Regionalisation: Constructing Identity Across Borders
CBRES is a CORE Project funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR)

For more information, or to participate in our project, please contact:

Dr. Gregor Schnuer
Laboratoire d’Histoire
Université du Luxembourg
Campus Walferdange
L-7220 Walferdange
Tel.: +352 466 644 9639
Mobile: +352 661 571 984

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