Disquiet at European borders: Scaling, geopolitics and everyday bordering

Room E
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
08.30 – 10.15
bordering, geopolitics, scaling, South-East Europe

The recent geopolitical involvement of the EU in its eastern neighbourhood has not only changed international political relations and perspectives on non-EU regions. It has also stirred up local politicians, civil society protagonists and economic agents at its external borders. Virtually over night, new perspectives and variable scopes of action came into sight where formerly fixed local frameworks seemed to restrain heterogeneous projects and networks. The rescaling of social relations has affected various agendas, transforming life at the border without finding local protagonists really prepared. Especially the borders between the EU and the next accession candidates are being increasingly exposed to heterogeneous rebordering (in the sense of producing altered modes of everyday references to, and utilization of, borders). What makes such rebordering difficult to handle is the fact that it almost inevitably includes rescaling, meaning that networks, scopes of action and access to power resources become fluid. They may flexibly expand or shrink, upsetting some and stimulating others. Seeking to theorize the relationship between bordering and scaling, the paper discusses apt concepts of scale and discusses their relevance, taking Serbia/Kosovo and Ukraine borders as regional examples of how altered resources, yet also constraints, are created by multidimensional rescaling.

Hans-Joachim Bürkner
Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Spatial Planning
buerkner [at]

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