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Unfixing Borderland Identity: Border Performances and Narratives in the Construction of Self

Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola


The relationship between state borders and identity has been a popular subject among border scholars. Despite this fact there is still relatively little conceptual and methodological discussion concerning borderland identities. This paper focuses firstly on the recent discussion of borders and identity, and secondly, it examines how narrative approach can contribute to our understanding of borderland identities. This is done by applying the narrative method to the analysis of individual border stories in the context of the Finnish-Swedish border. Narrative method provides an in-depth examination of the multidimensionality and multivoiceness in the construction of self. It is suggested that border scholars should be more critical when conceptualizing and classifying border identities in their empirical research. Identity can be linked with people's ethnic and linguistic ties but it often transforms through various border crossing practices and life projects. Borders materialize differently for different people, in different contexts and scales.

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