Project 2

Labour mobility across changing borders. Familiarity, unfamiliarity and patterns of labour mobility across the Danish-German, Slovenian-Italian and Slovenian-Croatian border in the 19th and 20th century

Dr. Martin Klatt, University of Southern Denmark
Dr. Carsten Yndigegn, University of Southern Denmark
Dr. Dorte Andersen, University of Southern Denmark
René Ejbye Pedersen, University of Southern Denmark

Under the umbrella of the overall program, the aim of this project is to analyze the interplay of labour market mobility and processes of familiarity and unfamiliarity as constitutional explanatory factors of level of regional cohesion. As is stated in the overall program of this CRP, historical representations of differences and similarities between 'us' and 'them' can have a strong and 'sticky' impact on practices where border-crossing is involved. In the course of history both stable and shifting borders can come into existence. When it comes to cross-border interaction these representations on the one hand may cause obstruction of international mobility and diminish opportunities for cross-border cohesion and communities to develop. On the other hand these images also may be the mere reason for cross-border interactions. As in the other IPs in the CRP here also concept of 'unfamiliarity' is used to try and explain whether international differences encourage or discourage cross-border interaction.

In line with this CRP, this IP also uses a relational notion of region. Border regions are seen as transnational spaces, where cross-border interaction and cultural overlap result in specific 'borderlands' identities. Inherent in much recent discourse on the changing significance of state boundaries is the notion that their dividing character can be overcome through the development of local/regional transnational socio-political communities (Klatt, 2006; Liikanen, 2008; Paasi, 1996). While today's EU-labour markets still tend to be dominantly national (van Houtum & van der Velde, 2004), this has not necessarily been the case in pre-nation state history. Here, this sub-project will provide new knowledge on regional cross-border labour mobility patterns in history.

Within this context the Department of Border Region Studies will first of all conduct a long durée case study on labour mobility in the Danish-German border region for the period from the first half of the 19th century to the present day. As Danish-German border region we define roughly the territory of the former Duchy of Schleswig. The Duchy of Schleswig is challenging from a research perspective while having changed it status during the stipulated period from being an independent region (a duchy) in the pre nation-state period, over being wholly incorporated in the newly formed Prussian-German nation-state, to being divided between the German and the Danish nation-state (Klatt, 2006). The composition of national majorities and minorities interchanges as well. Thereby it illustrates the changing role of region, identity and state in processes of re- and de-bordering. Thus, the long durée perspective can illustrate the 'political, social and cultural expressions of cohesion at a small geographical scale' and the importance of different, competing concepts of regions and regionalisms over time, as expressed in the project call.

In cooperation with Institute of International Sociology Gorizia, also a comparative case study will be undertaken in the Italian-Slovenian and the Slovenian-Croatian border region. Here, the findings of the Danish-German case will be confronted with the Slovenian-Italian and Slovenian-Croatian borders. These border regions offer a suitable comparative perspective, as they also have witnessed re-and de-borderings, nationalization, de-nationalization and re-nationalization, as well as border conflicts, minority conflicts and competing concepts of regions and regionalism. These borders have also experienced shifting interpretations both where it concerns regimes (from inner and outer borders of a socialist country to inner and outer borders of the Schengen-area) as well as geographies. The Institute of International Sociology Gorizia will function as a partner providing the necessary regional experience.
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