Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION

The Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION is a central research institution of the European University Viadrina. It combines and initiates analyses in the fields of social sciences, cultural studies, economics, and law on the processes of marking, transgressing, dissolving and re-establishing borders. As a joint project undertaken by all three faculties, the center brings together the internationally established research priorities of the Viadrina and deepens transdisciplinary perspectives. Founded in May 2013, the research institution is to be expanded into a center for international border research through interdisciplinary research projects, the targeted promotion of early career scholars, cooperation with both national and international partners and the establishment of a digital scientific platform called B/ORDER STUDIES.

The Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION focuses its research on the dynamics of the processes of demarcating and shifting borders. "Border regimes" are regarded as constitutive for societal and cultural entities of the present and of history overall.

The substantive program of the Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION is inscribed in its very name: The concept of "borders" refers to the fact that border studies have by now become an established research orientation worldwide. The discipline emerged in the 1980s, primarily in North America, and its focus is on examining the social and cultural consequences of living on national borders within a globalized world.

The Center picks up on the perspective of border studies in the narrower sense - thus continuing longstanding research traditions at the European University Viadrina. At the same time, it aspires to transcend the more narrowly defined research work on borders between nations, ethnicities and cultures: The goal is no longer to investigate merely borders in a spatial sense, but also the drawing of temporal and social borders. Borders are analyzed under the aspects of marking (durability), porosity (permeability) and the formation of border zones with complex, overlapping structures (liminality).

The play on words "B/ORDERS" poses the question as to how borders and orders are interrelated. It concerns how multifarious practices that erect or subvert borders at the same time stabilize or transform political regulatory, social, cultural and economic systems. Processes of demarcating borders are conceived as something that fundamentally structures our social world and our orientation in time, since every form of behavior demands or provokes complex border demarcations: A differentiation is always made between inside and outside, before and after, belonging and not belonging. B/ORDERS IN MOTION thus becomes an existential societal challenge, and, at the same time, a fundamental, forward-thinking topic of the sciences.

The second part of our name, "...IN MOTION," refers to the fact that in the age of modernity, borders have begun to move at an accelerated pace. The research projects linked with the Center proceed from the assumption that in the place of certain borders dissolving, becoming obsolete, other borders are continually being drawn in complex, multiple processes, so that border phenomena must be investigated in terms of their processuality. This entails performing empirical research interlinked with work on a theory of the border along with normative reflections and an orientation toward practical applications.

Institutionally, the Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION takes on the founding mission of the European University Viadrina, which was opened in 1991 on the German-Polish border with the goals of promoting internationality and interdisciplinarity, contributing to the development of the region on both sides of the Oder River, supporting German-Polish cooperation, and giving fresh impetus to pan-European integration. The Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION deepens and extends the founding idea of the EUV to the research of spatial, temporal and social borders in global contexts. With this specific thematic focus, it reinforces the development of the Viadrina's profile as a small elite university on the edge of a major metropolitan region.

The research emphasis "B/Orders in Motion," referred to on the Research Map of the German Rectors' Conference, is one of the central leitmotifs for further developing the profile of the European University Viadrina. The Viadrina, the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the state of Brandenburg, along with academic foundations and other research funding organizations, support research projects and the development of projects that are institutionally anchored at the Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION.

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