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Regional Identity in Border Regions: The Difference Borders Make

Michael Schack


One significant question for border studies is whether distance translates into closeness. That is, does proximity to state-borders and the neighboring state constitute an interaction context in and of itself? This article relies on data from a research project that was conducted to investigate the perception of neighboring country high school students inside and outside the Danish-German border region. The results of the research points towards an understanding of border regions as regions where several dimensions of social interaction play an important role. Although the research results provide evidence for the importance that nation-states play in perceptual differences between borderlands and non-borderlands, it is not the case on both sides of the Danish-German border. Therefore, contexts other than nation-state borders must be considered. This article argues that the perception of the neighboring country and the border region rely on specific types of cross-border activities and associations with the neighboring country. The less important state-borders become as markers of territoriality and control, the more other types of boundaries might become visible.

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