TITLE

Boundaries and transborder relations, or the hole in the prison wall: On the necessity of superfluous limits and boundaries

AUTHOR(S)
Leimgruber, Walter
PUB. DATE
November 2005
SOURCE
GeoJournal;Nov2005, Vol. 64 Issue 3, p239
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Boundaries can be seen as barriers or as places of contact. It has been suggested that we are ‘prisoners of borders’, of all kinds of borders (political, religious, social, cultural, linguistic etc.). While this statement appears to be somewhat exaggerated, it holds some truth. Boundaries are elements in spatial organization, and they influence daily life in many ways (not only for people living right along them). The paper addresses the question if we must call ourselves ‘prisoners’ or if we simply have to live with all kinds of borders. Departing from theoretical observations, the paper discusses the various aspects boundaries assume in the European context before looking at a few concrete Swiss examples. They reveal that even regions at a certain distance of the state border will feel its effects (the case of Zurich airport), but the most important benefit can been drawn by people living in the border area itself (through price differences between the two countries, as exemplified by the Swiss-Italian border). There may be asymmetry on state borders, but this asymmetry can also swing around: the advantages often lie on both sides. The paper concludes by pointing to the persistence of the boundary concept. They are a necessity for the organization of space and society, but they are not absolute. There are always holes in these prison walls, and the examples where boundaries were impermeable are probably rare.
ACCESSION #
23045512

 

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