Advertisement

GeoJournal

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 239–248 | Cite as

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

  • Walter Leimgruber
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.

Keywords

boundaries geography of advantage transborder cooperation 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barbič A., 2004: Perceptions of new realities along the Slovenian-Croatian borders. In: Pavlakovich-Kochi, Morehouse, B.J. and Wastl-Walter D (eds.), Challenged borderlands. Transcending political and cultural boundaries. pp. 115–235. Border Regions Series, Ashgate, Aldershot.Google Scholar
  2. EU 2003: Promoting Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity: An Action Plan 2004 – 2006 (http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/doc/official/keydoc/actlang/act lang en.pdf; 10.07.2004)Google Scholar
  3. Foucher, M. 1988Fronts et frontières. Un tourd du monde géopolitiqueFayardParisGoogle Scholar
  4. Girtler, R. 1992Schmuggler. Von Grenzen und ihren ÜberwindernVeritasLinzGoogle Scholar
  5. Guichonnet, P., Raffestin, C. 1974Géographie des frontièresPUFParisGoogle Scholar
  6. Hajdú Z., 2004: Renewal of cross-border cooperation along the Hungarian-Croatian border. In: Pavlakovich-Kochi, Morehouse, B.J. and Wastl-Walter D (eds.), Challenged borderlands. Transcending political and cultural boundaries. pp. 109–122. Border Regions Series, Ashgate, Aldershot.Google Scholar
  7. Holton G., 2003: Einstein’s Third Paradise, Daedalus, Fall, pp. 26–34 (http://www.aip.org/history/einsteins-third-paradise.htm, 30.04.04).Google Scholar
  8. Knippenberg, H., Markusse, J. 199919th and 20th century borders and border regions in Europe: some reflectionsKnippenberg, H.Markusse, J. eds. Nationalising and denationalising European border regions, 1800–2000: views from geography and historyKluwerDordrecht119Geojournal Library 53Google Scholar
  9. Lee, B.T., Bahrin, T.S. 1998Wither the borders? Towards a new dimension of geographical differentiationLee, B.T.Bahrin, T.S. eds. Vanishing borders: the new international order of the 21st centuryAshgateAldershot312Google Scholar
  10. Leimgruber, W. 1980Die Grenze als Forschungsobjekt der GeographieRegio BasiliensisXXI6778Google Scholar
  11. Leimgruber W., 1987: Il confine e la gente. Interrelazioni spaziali, sociali e politiche fra la Lombardia e il Canton Ticino. Collana dell’Istituto di Scienze Geografiche dell’Università di Parma, vol. 7. Varese, LativaGoogle Scholar
  12. Leimgruber, W. 1999Border effects and the cultural landscape: the changing impact of boundaries on regional development in SwitzerlandKnippenberg, H.Markusse, J. eds. Nationalising and denationalising European border regions, 1800–2000: views from geography and historyKluwerDordrecht199221Geojournal Library 53Google Scholar
  13. Leimgruber, W. 2002La politica immigratoria in SvizzeraMeneghel, G.B.Lombardi, D. eds. Immigrazione e territorioPatron EditoreBologna2942Google Scholar
  14. Leuthardt, B. 1999An den Rändern EuropasBerichte von den Grenzen. RotpunktverlagZürichGoogle Scholar
  15. Maharaj, M. eds. 2001Reflections in prisonZebra and Robben Island MuseumCape TownGoogle Scholar
  16. Mandela, N. 1994Long walk to freedomAbacusLondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Morehouse B.J. (2004): Theoretical approaches to border spaces and identities. In: Pavlakovich-Kochi V., Morehouse B.J. and Wastl-Walter D. (eds.), Challenged borderlands. Transcending political and cultural boundaries. pp. 19–39. Border Regions Series, Ashgate, Aldershot.Google Scholar
  18. Mrohs E. and Heukels J.M., 1970: Die Grenze – Trennung oder Begegnung, S’Gravenhage, Forschungsgesellschaft für Agrarpolitik und AgrarsoziologieGoogle Scholar
  19. Orwell, G. 1954Nineteen eighty-fourPenguinHarmondsworthGoogle Scholar
  20. Pounds, N.J. 1963Political GeographyMcGraw-HillNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Raffestin, C., Guichonnet, P., Hussy, J. 1975Frontières et sociétésLes cas franco-genevois. LausanneL’Age d’HommeGoogle Scholar
  22. Rambaud P., 2004: Europe – D.Institutions européennes, Encyclopédia Universalis, CD-Rom V.9.Google Scholar
  23. Sack, R.D. 1986Human territoriality. Its theory and historyCambridge University PressCambridgeGoogle Scholar
  24. Shiva V. (1993). Monocultures of the mind. Perspectives on biodiversity and biotechnology. Zed Books & Penang: Third World Network, London & New York.Google Scholar
  25. Shiva, V. 1996The war against speciesMiller, G.T.,Jr. eds. Living in the environmentWadsworthBelmont298299Google Scholar
  26. Shalnik, P. 1994State borders as factors mitigating cooperation and coexistenceGallusser, W.A.Bürgin, M.Leimgruer, W. eds. Political boundaries and coexistencePeter LangBerne390394Google Scholar
  27. van Houtum H., 1998: The development of cross-border economic relations. Dissertation Series, 40. Centre for Economic Research, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  28. Wright B.A. and Pavlakovich-Kochi V., 2004: Epilogue: implications for policy- and decision-making. In: Pavlakovich-Kochi V., Morehouse, B.J. and Wastl-Walter D (eds.), Challenged borderlands. Transcending political and cultural boundaries. pp. 295 f. Border Regions Series, Ashgate, Aldershot.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geosciences, Geography UnitUniversity of Fribourg/SwitzerlandFribourgSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations