In the past decades the world has witnessed two strong and parallel trends. On the one hand, flows of goods, people and ideas across international borders have increased in conjunction with institutional innovations in the area of cross‐border cooperation between sub‐national (local and regional) authorities. This development has been especially strong in Europe, where since the 1950s around 150 formalized institutions for cooperation have been set up, but similar institutions have been created in North and South America, Africa and Asia as well. What they have in common is that emphasis is put on construction and/or reconstruction of local transnational political, social and economic spaces. Regional cooperation on continental scale (e.g. EU, ASEAN) have supported these endeavours in various ways.
Some have noticed tendencies to assume, and aspire for, further development towards cross‐border regional integration, i.e. the research agenda on cross-border cooperation has had strong normative and teleological underpinnings, often fuelled by policy-demand for short-term evaluations of specific programmes or projects. However, the number, length and security level of wall or fence border has, according to some estimates, never been higher than today, with border management and border security being increasingly in the focus of commercial and political interest. The workshop will aim at taking stock at both these empirical developments over time, paying specific attention to communication, learning and policy transfer across regional and national boundaries. Reflections around issues surrounding what kind of historical data is available and how they can be used will feature highly in discussions.
Representatives of institutions participating in the network will moderate the sessions. A special visit to the Vera & Donald Open Society Archives will provide for an insight into their holdings related to border areas in Central and Eastern Europe. Some ongoing research carried out at the host institution within the project COHESIFY will be presented for the first time at the workshop.
Article in Regions Magazine: Report on the Second Workshop of the RSA Research Network on Regional and Economic and Policy History