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HomeBRIT XIV : Border Regions In Transition

BRIT XIV : Border Regions In Transition

BRIT XIV : Border Regions In Transition

The Border: a source of innovation

La frontière : une source d'innovation

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Published on Wednesday, December 11, 2013


BRIT (Border Regions in Transition) is an international network of researchers and practitioners dealing with issues on borders. The objective of this conference is, with a transdisciplinary approach (geography, political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, history), to contribute to a collective reflection on innovations related to border and cross-border dynamics. The decision to set BRIT next to the Franco-Belgian border in 2014 falls within the symbol. A century after the declaration of the Great War, the aim is to trace the evolution of the border between France and Belgium, which started from “front” border to end with « sewing » border. If it once represented a split between two territories, the border has now come to represent an element of welding these two territories. The field day will offer a contact with these concrete realities.



Thema: The Border – A Source of Innovation

Research carried out over more than twenty years shows that, far from being fixed geographical features, borders are characterized by a dynamic play whose actors include the changes affecting the world while actively contributing to its transformation. While the 1990s were steeped in the ideology of a “world without borders” made conceivable by the end of the East-West divide and the collapse of the USSR, the events of 11 September, among others, marked the beginning of an era characterised by the redirection of attention to the issues of security and territorial control.

This “resumption of borders” raises questions that we have to consider, especially in 2014, the centenary commemoration of the start of World War I (1914–1918).

The confrontations, the tensions and the clashes may not have disappeared from the web of international relations, but at the same time, new and sometimes unprecedented alliances and cooperative agreements have sprung up between both neighbouring and distant territories on a national and sub-national level. Multiple forms of territorialisation have emerged, brought on by a resurgence of the need to establish national identity: they go hand-in-hand with the integration processes that seem to be encouraged by globalisation and regionalisation. This often paradoxical situation reflects the expression of complex territorial strategies within which borders can be formed or reformed, used or decommissioned, removed or reconstructed. In this context, the word innovation seems to provide the best possible interpretation of the dynamic nature of contemporary borders.

The Westphalian model, characterised by the existence of a demarcated world separating the recognised sovereign powers, seems that it is being called into question by a multifaceted globalisation that bolsters both interdependence and confrontation. What is more, the influence of the non-public players and the increased responsibility assumed by citizens is transforming the collective decision-making process, creating new forms of governance which transcend or transform national limitations. Innovation is now evident in the world of politics – particularly at a State level – but also in all other fields of activity.

It is therefore necessary to look closely at the policies and strategies of the States and other actors involved in the creation of borders as bodies whose responsibility is to guarantee territorial security. This would include consideration of regulation and control responsibilities, which tend to be of a physical nature, and ratification responsibilities, which are more symbolic. With regard to the physical aspects, attention will be focused on the changes affecting border regimes, on legal standards, as well as on the administrative, technical or technological procedures implemented to strengthen controls and partition off territories, such as “teichopolitics”, for example. With regard to the symbolic aspects, particular attention will be paid to speeches made, written accounts and signs or symbols displayed in the area.

The border, a source of innovation, is considered as a public space and is the subject of appropriation and transformation strategies. International and regional integration therefore gives rise to cross-border cooperation policies covering a number of fields: economic development, mobility, environment, employment, tourism, etc. European integration has certainly played an initiatory role in this area, with cross-border cooperation being seen as a means of connection: many local and regional actors have initiated new partnerships with counterparts in neighbouring States. On this basis, a comparison between cross-border governance systems formed in Europe and those developed in other parts of the world would be extremely informative.

The impact of the frameworks developed by public authorities in cross-border areas on the practices and representation of the populations also requires consideration. In terms of increased mobility, border crossings – regardless of whether they are the norm or the exception – contribute to the emergence of new territories, while the increase in interaction and confrontations gives rise to new forms of identity.

Another direction concerns strategies for changing and contesting the physical border by actors other than the public authorities: citizens, civil society, artists, business people, etc. Alternative and critical views are expressed and displayed by the organisation of events, performances and spatial demarcations. We should also take account of the opportunities arising from the development of the asymmetries inherent to any border, whether or not these shapes are lawful. Finally, the border, as a human construction, also has to be considered in terms of social representations: those of which it is an indicator and those it carries through experience and perceptions, those that are imagined. This is also relates to the way this concept is put forward in teachings.

We would like particular attention to be paid to maritime areas: the freedom of movement that characterises them does not prevent territorial confrontations and conflicts. In this context, straits represent transit routes between two continental regions which are the focus of a number of issues.

The points for consideration are not intended to be exhaustive. The symposium aims to be as open as possible in order to allow the element of debate and dispute related to an encounter between diverse opinions. Communications developing a theoretical basis are welcome, as are those describing unusual situations or specific methodological approaches. In addition, proposals adopting a temporal and historic perspective are of as much interest as those that fall within a spatial framework.

BRIT XIV “the border – a source of innovation” aims to demonstrate how the border, both as a concept and as an object resulting from the implementation of regional strategies can be understood, in all its forms, as a source of innovation within the different societies.

The communications which aims to create a theoretical basis are welcome, as well as those which describe singular situations or particular methodological approaches. Moreover, the interest offered by the propositions based on a temporal and historical perspective is just as great as the ones that fall within a spatial framework.

Submission guidelines

The conference will be held from 4 to 7 Novembre 2014

The proposals are due by:

15 April 2014.

and will be sent to: contact@brit2014.org

Scientific Committee

  • Pr. Alper, Don. Wester Washington U. Etats-Unis
  • Pr. Amilhat-Szary, Anne-Laure. U. Joseph Fourier, Grenoble     France
  • Pr. Brunet-Jailly, Emmanuel. U. of Victoria, BC Canada
  • Pr. Chilla Tobias. U. of Nünrberg-Erlangen Allemagne
  • Dr. Das Kundu Nivedita. Social Sc. Research, New delhi  Inde
  • Pr. Van Der Velde, Martin. U. of Nijmegen Pays-Bas
  • Pr. Dorfman Adriana. U. of Porto Alegre Brésil
  • Dr. Duhamel, Sabine. U. littoral Côte d’Opale, Dunkerque France
  • Pr. Giraut, Frédéric.  U. de Genève Suisse
  • Pr. Igue John. West Africa Institute, Cap Vert Bénin
  • Pr. Iwashita, Akihiro. U. of Hokkaïdo Japon
  • Pr. Kolosov, Vladimir. Academy of Sciences Russie
  • Pr. Leloup, Fabienne. U. Catholique de Louvain, Mons Belgique
  • Pr. Liikanen, Ilkka. U. of Eastern Finland, Joensuu Finlande
  • Dr. Moullé, François. U. d’Artois, Arras France
  • Pr. Newman, David.  Ben Gourion U. Israël
  • Pr. O’Dowd, Liam. Queen’s U., Belfast Grande Bretagne
  • Pr. Picouet, Patrick  U. Lille 1 France
  • Pr. Reitel,  Bernard. U. d’Artois, Arras France
  • Pr. Roosens, Claude.  U. Catholique de Louvain Belgique
  • Pr. Rosière, Stéphane. U. Reims Champagne-Ardenne France
  • Pr. Scott, James. U. of Eastern Finland, Joensuu Finlande
  • Pr. Shen, Haimei.  Yunnan U. Chine
  • Pr. Soen, Violet.  KU-Leuven, U. of Leuven Belgique
  • Dr. Sohn, Christophe. CEPS / INSTEAD Luxembourg
  • Pr. Vandermotten Christian. U. Libre de Bruxelles Belgique
  • Pr. Verjans Pierre U. de Liège Belgique
  • Pr. Wassenberg Birte U. of Strasbourg France
  • Pr. Wastl-Walter Doris U. of Bern Suisse


  • 9 rue du Temple
    Arras, France (62)
  • Avenue Paul Langevin
    Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France (59)
  • 151 Chaussée de Binche
    Mons, Belgium (7000)


  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014


  • BRIT, frontière, transfrontalier, innovation


  • Contact colloque BRIT
    courriel : contact [at] brit2014 [dot] org

Information source

  • François Moullé
    courriel : francois [dot] moulle [at] univ-artois [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« BRIT XIV : Border Regions In Transition », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, https://doi.org/10.58079/otz

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