11.11.2015 Annika Mayer

Call for Papers: Differences and discontinuities in a "Europe without borders"

ABS Europe Conference 2016

04 – 07 October 2016 | University of Luxembourg
In cooperation with the UniGR-Center for Border Studies (UniGR-CBS)

In 2016 the biannual European Conference of the Association for Borderland Studies (ABS) will be hosted by the University of Luxembourg. The Conference will take place at the Belval campus, in close proximity to the French- Luxembourg border, and in cooperation with the University of the Greater Region (UniGR) – a confederation of six universities from Luxembourg (University of Luxembourg), Germany (University of Kaiserslautern, Saarland University, University of Trier), France (University of Lorraine), and Belgium (University of Liège). The conference is thematically connected to the 30-year anniversary of the Schengen Agreement, which was signed in the Luxembourg village of Schengen. The conference wants to test the vision of a ‘Europe without borders’, by considering questions that focus on mobility, diversity, responsibility and change from a multidisciplinary perspective. The questioning should consider differences as well as discontinuities in a spatial, social and temporal perspective.

With the abolition of regular border controls in Schengen Europe, and the fall of the iron curtain, the field of Border Studies has opened up new objects of research and has experienced a noticeable development boost. Although the initial focus was on freight, services, capital and passenger traffic, and the resulting questions in relation to spatial, political, cultural and social aspects, this was followed by social constructivist approaches and relational thinking. The idea of a ‘borderless world’ has become popular, with a certain sensibility for the processes of ‘new border demarcation’.

The conference aims at further expansion of this sensibility and reinforced attention to the processes of demarcation, for there are not only radical cultural and political changes in Europe, but also concerns to open up differences and discontinuities:

  1. as resources e.g. as driving forces for exchange, movement and learning
  2. as instruments e.g. in critical power perspectives on governance and marginalisation
  3. as materialisation e.g. in social, aesthetic or spatial manifestations.

The conference aims to intensify this multidisciplinary dialogue with an orientation that understands differences and discontinuities as resulting from economic, institutional and social processes, and through a border studies approach that seeks deeper reflection on categories of difference and discontinuity. The focus then is on mobility, diversity, responsibility and change, with differences as well as discontinuities considered through a spatial, social and temporal perspective.

Contributions in the following areas, and beyond, are therefore welcome: papers that develop theoretical models
and concepts, present empirical case studies or show scientific desiderata. Moreover, paper proposals from
practitioners and institutional representatives that deal with questions of border areas are also welcome.

Further information: www.abseurope2016.eu