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Sleeping abroad but working at home: Cross border residential mobility between transnationalism and (re)bordering
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Geography. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES).
2013 (English)In: Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, ISSN 0435-3684, E-ISSN 1468-0467, Vol. 95, no 2, 189-204 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cross-border residential mobility (CBRM) has so far largely been approached from a transnational perspective. However, recent developments in border studies and transnationalism give rise to certain doubts. While border studies have come to include mental borders next to physical borderlands, transnationalism today refers not just to cross-border movements but also to identities trans-cending the national. But border studies have shown that the increased crossing of borders is not necessarily coupled with their diminished significance. CBRM is a particularly interesting phenomenon as it entails the continuous crossing of a physical border, but the question is whether it also implies the erosion of mental borders and the emergence of transnational ties. While drawing on experiences from parallel cases, my study focuses on Poles from Szczecin moving just across the boundary to Vorpommern, Germany. Some are integrating there, but their large majority appears to carry on with everyday life in Poland as before moving. This settlement has triggered considerable resentment among local Germans, who as a reaction mark the borderland discursively and physically. As my survey shows, while both groups regularly cross the physical border, many even among the cross-border residents consider it as a necessary dividing line or prefer cooperation to be reserved to some activities. Hence, unlike longdistance migration leading either to diaspora identities or to gradual dissolution in the majority culture, CBRM appears as a specific form of international migration where the physical proximity allows such intensive links with the country of origin that transnational effects are mitigated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 95, no 2, 189-204 p.
Keyword [en]
cross-border residential mobility, transnationalism, (re)bordering, Vorpommern, Polish–German borders
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18272DOI: 10.1111/geob.12016ISI: 000320388300005ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84879227996Local ID: 1169/42/2007:8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-18272DiVA: diva2:602187
Projects
The influence of political territorial hierarchies on local development and relations in cross-border areas: The role of Szczecin as a central place in relation to the divided Pomeranian hinterland
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 3016801
Available from: 2013-01-31 Created: 2013-01-31 Last updated: 2014-04-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Perpetual borders: German-Polish cross-border contacts in the Szczecin area
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perpetual borders: German-Polish cross-border contacts in the Szczecin area
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Borderlands are often peripheral geographically, administratively, and economically. A particularly illustrative case is the Szczecin area at the border between Poland and Germany, where a large city on one side neighbours to a sparsely populated hinterland on the other. There is a number of similar cases throughout Europe, but studies on them point to a mixed level of linkages following the opening and removal of the physical border.

At the project’s start there were few if any studies on the Szczecin area per se, which was here studied through various methods. On the one hand, different pre-EU enlargement plans and visions for the area’s development were compared with practices and realities of recent years. This shows that earlier imaginations on the development potentials have not quite materialised, although some of them were probably too optimistic and ambitious from the beginning. Some of the area’s potentials following EU-enlargement have been more successfully exploited than others, and disproportionately by actors coming from outside. On the other hand, cross-border contacts were studied in the discourses on and attitudes towards the other side among local and regional elites, and among local residents more generally. This revealed a polarised attitudinal landscape, not least when compared to country-wide opinion surveys in both Germany and Poland. This is in line with other studies showing that identities are particularly accentuated in border situations, where the Other is more frequently encountered.

These results support recent investigations pointing to a continued relevance of the border even after the physical barriers are removed. At the same time, another contribution of this work to border studies is that the time and contingency of the importance of identities and of the border needs more attention. In the Szczecin area, awareness of national identities and of the boundary appeared to be particularly high just after changes in the border’s status occurred – i.e. in 1989–1991, and then around the years 2007–2010. But while its importance may be fluctuating over time, given the opportunities and resources the boundary provides it will always be maintained in some forms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, 2014. 74 p.
Series
Meddelanden från Kulturgeografiska institutionen vid Stockholms universitet, ISSN 0585-3508 ; 145Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 92
Keyword
cross-border regional development, Polish-German border, Szczecin, (national) identities, border attitudes, the Other
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-23346 (URN)978-91-7447-874-7 (ISBN)978-91-86069-89-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-09, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 3016801
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-04-17 Created: 2014-04-17 Last updated: 2014-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Balogh, Péter
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