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Conceptualizing Borders in Cross-Border Regions: Case Studies of the Barents and Ireland–Wales Supranational Regions

Kaj Zimmerbauer


This paper scrutinizes the significance of borders in cross-border cooperation. Since borders are seen here as multilayered constructs that may be either hard or soft, it is asked to what extent they determine the contents of cooperation, and whether they also define the key actors participating in various border crossing processes and projects. By analyzing comparative case studies of the Barents and Ireland–Wales cross-border regions through the layer model of borders and some key ideas of actor-network theory, this paper points out how borders, as lines of demarcation, are of relevance for the forms of cooperation adopted. Cross-border collaboration also transforms borders, making the significance of various layers dynamic in time. Moreover, the paper suggests that cross-border collaboration should be conceptualized as a hybrid of sub-national (local), national, and supranational policies and objectives.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229