FRAL - Appel Franco-allemand en sciences humaines et sociales

A divided sky? Interdependencies and asymmetries along the former inner German border. – DIVSky

Submission summary

While neighbouring village societies, formerly separated by the inner-German border, are today connected in a dense network of mobilities, share the same workplaces and the same social and economic stability, it is striking that they hardly cooperate beyond work or form deep social bonds or friendships. The project aims to shed light on this paradox by capturing and analyzing the life experiences, social practices, and worldviews of residents in the former border region of two ideologically hostile states. The project uses the spatial proximity of the village societies along the former inner-German border to pose the question of the effects of the separation of the two German states as well as the multiple and often asymmetrical transformations that accompanied the reunification of the two German states and are still effective today.
The choice of three study sites straddling the former border will make it possible to examine the changes affecting both the West and the East, and to critically examine the nature of the processes underway since 1989, interpreted in the literature as either "convergence," "integration," or more recently, "co-transformation." The decision to "revisit" villages that have been the subject of previous studies in the 1990s will add an original temporal depth to our analyses.
We use an ethnographic approach complemented by statistical and cartographic methods to trace the dissolution and transgression of boundaries, as well as their reorganization and redefinition. Based on three disciplinary approaches (social anthropology, sociology and geography) applied in the same study sites, we will examine in more detail three dimensions that we assume will shed light on the fascinating observation of the emergence of a phantom border between these social spaces despite the disappearance of territorial and economic barriers: The organization of their social life and the development of social, family and intergenerational ties (WP2), territorial anchorage, , their mobility practices and relational aspects related to educational and employment experiences (WP3), and relations with politics and forms of engagement (WP4). In line with ethical and transfer considerations, the valorisation (WP5) will address both the academic field and local societies, which will be invited to participate in the shooting of a documentary film by a professional team.

Project coordination

Laure de Verdalle (Professions, institutions, temporalités)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


B/ORDERS IN MOTION Borders in Motion
PRINTEMPS Professions, institutions, temporalités
Géographie-cités Géographie-cités

Help of the ANR 917,715 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2024 - 36 Months

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