It is commonly accepted that the fall of the Berlin Wall, the single market project and the advent of the internet have changed Europe beyond recognition and in this sense they represent a genuine revolutionary breakthrough. However, these three “revolutions” have originated and evolved independently of each other. The single market project has not been created in response to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the internet has spread independently of all the historic changes in Moscow and Brussels. The three revolutions also seem to be about different things: geo-politics, economics and communication.
That said, there is one important, although usually ignored, facet which these revolutions share: they all affect Europe’s borders in one way or another. To be more precise, all three revolutions generate the unbounding understood as a process during which the existing territorial boundaries either wither, move or change nature. This unbounding has profound political implications because borders are not just lines on the map, but complex institutions determining the link between territory, authority and rights. They are also imbricated with complex social and cultural symbols and relationships. Borders shape the geographies of power in Europe, and the unbounding process redesigns Europe’s political map.
This innovative network will first try to understand how the three unbounding revolutions evolved and interacted. It will then try to identify the implications of these unbounding revolutions. Who are the winners and losers resulting from the unbounding? Has unbounding changed the ways power is exercised and if so, how? Finally, the network will test some tentative hypotheses regarding the geographies of power in Europe generated by the unbounding.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Project Start/End: October 2015-September 2017
Principal Investigator: Professor Jan Zielonka