Networks in Border Regions: Understanding the Border Effect through Cultural Networks in Europe

Donnerstag (21. September 2023), 09:00–10:30
SH 1.104
Anna Growe (Universität Kassel)
Ahmed Bakry (Universität Heidelberg)
The paper analyses cultural networks in three European cross-border regions and discusses negative border effects.


Despite national borders, border regions are characterised by diverse interactions between cities in different states. While economic interactions in cross-border regions as well as joint governance in cross-border regions have been analysed in academic analyses for quite some time, only few contributions focus explicitly on culturally driven interactions.

This contribution aims to suggest a multi-layered analyses for understanding social interactions and to analyse the cultural dimension in cross-border regions. It focuses on three cross-border regions in the EU: 1) the Upper Rhine region between Germany, France and Switzerland, 2) the Flemish region between Belgium and the Netherlands, and 3) the Basque region between Spain and France. Each of these cases has certain socio-cultural characteristics, with some similarities and some differences becoming significant in the mixed-methods analysis.

The analysis combines quantitative and qualitative elements. In a first step of the analysis, cultural networks in the three case studies will be analysed and compared on the basis of networks of cultural infrastructure and cultural driven social interactions. To analyse national border effects, the effect of the existing border on cultural networks is tested in comparison to the effect of different hypothetical borders on cultural networks.

Building on this, the network perspective is extended to the cities in the cross-border regions by including a territorial perspective (taking a critical mass of participants into consideration). The combination of network perspective and territorial perspective is used to conceptualise cultural hubs (expressed by a cultural power index). With the help of the cultural power index, the cities in the cross-border regions as well as the cross-border regions themselves can be typified. Finally, these results are compared with the perception of the region’s inhabitants regarding the region’s delimitation.