Cities at the gates of Europe. Cultural landscapes and identity of border towns in Southeast Europe

Border cities can function as a social laboratory where international protocols, cross-border projects and cultural flows are practically and visibly enacted, and it could be argued that within contemporary border cities it is possible to discern the emergence of not only new forms of governance, but also new forms of cultural identities and cultural transfers. South-East European countries outside the EU (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) are steadily transforming into a liminal zone, permanent European borderland(s) of transit and entry to the EU, where border cities offer convenient focused points for research. Proximity of such towns (“EU-border cities”) to the borders of the European Union transformed many of them into nods of entrance at the gates of Europe (“fortress Europe”), with contradictory effects for the urban community and the city itself in economic, demographic and cultural sense.
Primary objectives of this kind of research would be twofold:
1. interpreting the cultural dynamics and cultural landscapes of border cities through comparative research of selected city case studies (Edirne, Bitola, Bihać and Subotica), with special focus on the process of Europeanization, multicultural politics, and characteristics of citizenship in the borderlands – such foci can potentially enable better understanding of cultural (re)configurations and identity dynamics in the local (and regional) context in European peripheries;
2. exploring the role and effects of the EU and its (formal and informal) border policies and politics in its immediate vicinity (in border cities of the countries in the process of accession), also with regard to creation of the representations and notions of Europe being produced in particular localities. This transdisciplinary research would require deep understanding and examination of institutions and relevant social actors in selected cities, in both historical and contemporary context.

Principal Investigators
Voß, Christian Prof. Dr. (Details) (South Slavic Languages and Cultures)

Duration of Project
Start date: 05/2018
End date: 04/2019

Research Areas
Humanities and Social Sciences

Research Areas

Last updated on 2020-01-06 at 17:23