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Borders & Boundaries

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The field of inquiry Borders and Boundaries, which is situated at the Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, is concerned with researching political-territorial borders, in particular nation-state borders, as well as the borders drawn between (business) organizations, social groups, ethnic groups, generations, and genders, and also knowledge and normative borders. In this context, we consider the merging of classical Border Studies – focusing on political-territorial borders – with sociocultural Boundary Studies particularly relevant, especially as international research has paid far too little attention to connecting these two lines of research.

Three key perspectives for research and analysis appear especially productive for examining the relationship between border and order:

a) Borders, notions of order, and constellations of borders

Firstly, it is a key perspective to take into account the ideas and systems of order behind the processes of drawing borders. This enables us to develop a deeper understanding of the borders and orders in question. Borders are not only functions of orders, but are also ordered in themselves. This also raises the question about the quality of the borders themselves, for example their durability and permeability.

Analyzing borders from a perspective of order reveals the multidimensional processes of ordering, categorizing, and delineating through which objects, persons, or periods of time are differentiated and often placed in a hierarchy. These processes are based on a complex interplay of practices, discourses, networks, and infrastructures. If the formation and (re-)creation of orders is to be made accessible to experience and analysis, it is useful to take processes of negotiation and transfer, even conflicts, into account and to ask how various actors are involved in guiding and experiencing them. A heterogeneous constellation of state, private, and corporate actors plays a role at nation-state borders, for example in the area of border security; this constellation constitutes the nation-state’s order of borders on the basis of various discourses on security as well as material and immaterial practices and infrastructures. In the field of conflict studies, the analysis of the limits of acceptability can shed light on the normative orders of conflicting parties, which become unbalanced or compromised in their core principles when these limitations are transgressed.

b) The interplay of various dynamics of bordering and ordering

Secondly, we are interested in the interplay of bordering and ordering, which can overlap, intensify, or also dissolve each other. Based on the insight that we refer to various orders and borders in our social world simultaneously – besides the national systems of order also the European and global ones, and besides political-territorial borders also legal, economic, and cultural ones – we pose the question as to the relationship between these various orders and their borders. For example, we can ask to what extent various orders meet at borders and are placed in a relationship – be it hierarchical or otherwise – to each other. It may be relevant whether a political-territorial border is coded in multiple ways. A border may not only define the territory of a nation-state, but may also establish the external border of the EU. In order to adopt new perspectives on the interaction between order and border/boundary negotiations, the interdisciplinary research situated at the Center also analyzes the situational collision of normative claims as well as the hierarchization of normative orders. In the field of labor research, for example, we inquire into the formation of order-creating boundaries and boundary-forming orders of private-sector enterprises and other organizations of gainful employment in ‘multi-level’ or legally pluralistic systems where private, state, ecclesiastical and/or international and supranational/European law intertwine.

c) The liminality of borders and the re-creation of orders

Thirdly, we are interested in the liminality of borders. As borders are created by various actors and institutions, it is noteworthy that they are not always unambiguous. Contradictions and conflicts can emerge if orders overlap or if borders are unclear – if, for example, the political-territorial border is not (unambiguously) identical to a language boundary or if globalized business relationships and transnational social interlinkages run counter to national rights and social orders. When systems of orders overlap, this may bring about borderlands or intermediate spaces or liminal spaces – at times unintentionally. They are ambivalent: on the one hand, they may engender insecurities, disempowerment, and precariousness. On the other, they are productive spaces of opportunity from which new orders – or also third orders, hybrid orders – may emerge. These processes of reordering, of (re-)shaping and creating orders can be analyzed employing a perspective of borders. Since new orders that emerge in liminal border zones can also become relevant for the centers, examining these zones makes it possible to anticipate developments of general importance.

Projects:

Agrarsysteme der Zukunft DAKIS – Digitales Wissens- und Informationssystem für die Landwirtschaft
Ambivalenzen der Europäisierung. Prekäre Ordnungen Europas in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Bare life and the EU border regime. A cultural sociological inquiry into the construction of subjectivity, othering and the displacement of violence at the EU borders
Border Complexities. Eine deutsch‐französisch-luxemburgische Workshopreihe
Cultural-Historical Psychology at Borders
Developing a new curriculum in Global Migration, Diaspora and Border Studies in East-Central Europe (GLocalEAst)
Die Entwicklung sozio-ökonomischen Denkens in der DDR im Vergleich zu Polen und der Tchechoslowakei 1945-1990. Teilprojekt 4 (Mod-Block-DDR)
Die Länder des ehemaligen Jugoslawien als „doppelter Transitraum“: Solidaritäten, Grenzziehungen und Grenzüberquerungen zwischen MigrantInnen und der lokalen Bevölkerung auf dem Weg in die EU
Ein immer noch geteilter Himmel? Deutschlands Osten und Westen, dreißig Jahre nach der Wiedervereinigung
Entgrenzter Kapitalismus. Das „Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik“ (1904-1933) und die europäischen Wissenschaftskulturen
Entrepreneurial habitus dispositions of the transnational generation from state socialism to post-socialism - a German-Polish comparison. Subproject 6 (Mod-Block-DDR)
Erasmus+ Austauschprogramm mit dem Kosovo
Flüchtlinge im deutsch-sowjetischen Grenzraum
Fluid Boundaries? The Rhine and Oder-neisse Borderlands in Cold War Europe
German Speech Islands in Motion: Crossing Language Boundaries in the German National Rajon of the Altai Region (Russia)
History on the Margins: Representations of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery in Germanlanguage Schoolbooks
"Knowledge is Power": Boundaries of Political Consulting and Lobbying in the Political Decision-Making Process
Kontrollmaßnahmen in entgrenzten Arbeitsmärkten
Konturen kulturwissenschaftlicher Grenzforschung
Language and the Emergence of Transnational Social Spaces
Language Making: Social conceptions of languages and their boundaries
Linking Borderlands - Teilprojekt „Communicative Borderlands"
Mobilität im Wandel - Transnationale Verkehrsbeziehungen in europäischen Grenzregionen seit 1945
Modelle der Live-in-Pflege. Rechtswissenschaftliche und sozialethische Vorschläge zur Weiterentwicklung einer personenbezogenen Dienstleistung
Modernisierungsblockaden in Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft der DDR: Entstehung und Folgen im innerdeutschen Vergleich und im Vergleich mit Nachbarländern in Ostmitteleuropa
Multilingualism in Saarland: Attitudes towards the ‚France strategy‘
Post-national Acts of Identity – Language Ideologies in Multilingual Belize
Räumliche und räumlich-zeitliche GARCH Modelle
Representations of space and borders in the Austrian public discourse on asylum and in narratives of refugees
Research and Practice in Dialogue: How do cross-border public services and civic participation function in the Euroregion Pro Europa Viadrina?
Research collaboration: Advancing multiscalar social citizenship within the European Union
Research Group "Detection and Surveillance of Spatial and Spatiotemporal Clusters"
Sektion "Kulturwissenschaftliche Border Studies" in der Kulturwissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft
State Borders and Migration in Digital Times (Internationale Sommerschule)
The Construction of Language in Digital Society
The Globalized Periphery: Atlantic Commerce, Socioeconomic and Cultural Change in Central Europe (circa 1680-1850)
Wissenschaftliches Netzwerk "Un/gewisse Grenzen"
Worldness behind Cemeteries. Stories of the Absent: German-Jewish Minority in Southeast Banat