Agnieszka Halemba and J. Otto Habeck: "Borders as a Resource That Never Disappears", Research Factory B/ORDERS IN MOTION
Hybrid (Zoom and HG 109)
Dr. habil. Agnieszka Halemba
(Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences)
Prof. Dr. J. Otto Habeck
(Institute of Ethnology, University of Hamburg)
Borders as a Resource That Never Disappears
The title of our presentation combines the main themes of our past and our planned research along the Polish-German border, both of which we want to discuss during this Research Factory meeting.
The first part of the title denotes one of the main outcomes of our DPWS-funded research project (2016- 2018) that involved ethnology students from Polish and German universities. The publications and theses that emerged as results of this project can be roughly divided into two groups: some of them investigate the particularities of the neighbouring territories, which, in our opinion, have been often disregarded in the context of research on Polish-German relations; other works focus on the significance of living within the immediate vicinity of the border for the strategic decisions taken by the inhabitants of the border region in everyday life. An internal EU border that in political discourses has been repeatedly described as a ‘disappearing’ one, not only has remained crucial for the inhabitants, but it in a sense multiplied after its political opening. It is therefore useful to speak of a border as a bundle of potentialities and possibilities that can be used in various ways by the border region’s inhabitants.
Our future project asks how has the COVID-19 crisis reshaped questions of belonging, intimacy, and relatedness. What happens when taken-for-granted knowledge, practices, and discourses are suddenly interrupted or significantly disturbed? Where do actors turn to, whom do they trust when mobility and relations-making at the core of their lives become disrupted? Divergent viewpoints and perceptions of the Polish-German border developed over time; however, they have been undergoing rapid and fundamental shifts since spring 2020. The border closure came as a shock for many local inhabitants. It is not yet clear how the pandemic restrictions have influenced the ways the border as a site of everyday life is experienced and practiced.