Open Borders project
The OPEN BORDERS project employs a multi-layered approach to the study of European cross-border practices seeing individual actors, regional governments and states as definite contributors interacting at various levels in the creation of cross-border initiatives. Our aim is to investigate how nation-states cooperated with other agents in all sorts of entanglements and cross-border cooperation at various levels.
The project rests on a multi-scalar transnational study of cross-border initiatives on behalf of three interconnected categories: PEOPLE, PLACES, PRACTICES.
PEOPLE – actors of cross-border practices
The history of cross-border cooperation has witnessed constant negotiation among states, regions, municipalities, local associations and individuals as they have struggled to define and redefine what cooperation is. To investigate the ways in which the demands and initiatives of multiple agents have shaped both local action and state responses.
Methodology: Life stories of these individuals in order to reflect more deeply on the civic capacity of these agents will be collected. They will stem from oral sources, private collections with written and visual personal narratives.
PLACES of cross-border interaction
Cross-border cooperation involves not only persons but it also has a spatial quality in that it occurs in a specific location. The agents of this cooperation act in and through physical spaces that have their own quality and shape the forms of exchange. These places are often related to the political economy because local actors have created them to serve their needs. Despite the non-linear development of inter-state relations, these places encapsulated a supra-national dimension of local exchanges and shaped the everyday experience in the Cold War.
METHODOLOGY: A transdisciplinary approach including history, sociology, anthropology and memory studies will allow for the examination of how these places become spaces of constant interaction without a national qualification, thereby transcending the state dimension. In order to reconstruct the creation and evolution of spaces of cross-border interaction, a combination of oral sources, archival material from local and state archives will be employed.
PRACTICES of cross-border cooperation
In which form did these forms of cooperation take place? How did everyday life by the border relate to the official designs? All these issues relate to concrete actors: who interacted with which expectations? What are the frameworks, the methods and the objects used to interact in cross-border cooperation?
We will question consolidated understandings that cross-border cooperation involves (only) the mobility of people, goods and capital. When approached from a bottom-up perspective, the case of the Alps-Adriatic in the twentieth century challenges this vision and also calls for an analysis of the mobility of states and its borders.