Challenging borders: a critical perspective on the relation between state, territory, citizenship and identity
A nuanced and critical re-reading and understanding of borders as resources and as potential elements of political innovation is needed to interpret the broad socio-political transformations that are taking place in Europe and also more globally. This introductory presentation sets the ground for the session on Challenging borders by shedding light on tensions between national understandings in terms of demarcations based on ethnicity, citizenship, language and socio-cultural characteristics, etc., and broader supranational/transnational understandings which address borders as areas of contact (and, to an extent, transition) between civilizations, religious and cultural spheres. The nature of borders is changing and it is important to understand the complex roles and realities of borders in the 21st Century and thus deal with changing borders and their strategic, economic, cultural implications. Challenging the very concept of a border means to re-discuss the way in which states, territories, citizenship and identity relate to each other. This understanding impacts both theoretical reasoning and methodological approaches to the study of borders and of the processes related to them. The aim of the paper is to define the state of the art and stimulate the discussion, introducing key debates and linking the following presentations.