Studies of Borders & Border Communities

Since the middle of the 1990s, research on border issues, including border communities, has become an independent research initiative. A concept of borders is seen by CISR researchers not only as a phenomenon within the physical and political space but also as a key sociological term, indicating processes of social in/exclusion.

CISR’s researchers implemented more than 20 projects (including studies on the Russian-Estonian borderland). More than 30 articles have been published. CISR organized 2 international conferences related to border studies: “Nomadic Borders” (Narva, Estonia, 1998) and “Shifting Borders” (St.Petersburg, 2000). The collection of articles (“Nomadic Borders“, edited by Olga Brednikova and Viktor Voronkov. CISR. Working Papers. 1999. Vol. 7) was issued based on the conference in Narva.

Furthermore CISR regularly organizes summer schools on the Russian-Mongolian borderland (2003), Russian-Abkhazian borderland (2005), Georgian-Abkhazian borderland (2007), Armenian-Azerbaijani-Iranian borderland (2008), Georgian-Turkish borderland (2010), Russian-Estonian borderland (2014). Some research results conducted in Abkhazia were published in “Laboratorium” journal (“Rethinking the South Caucasus”, Laboratorium, 2010, №1).

Over the last few years CISR participated in 2 large-scale projects:

EUBORDERREGIONS (2011-2015) – the main objective of the project was to identify challenges to economic, social and territorial cohesion as well as regional development potentials in different borderlands at the EU’s external frontiers.

EUBORDERSCAPES (2012-2016) – the main objective of the project was to analyze the evolving concept of borders in terms of a mutually linked emergence of “post-national”, “post-colonial”, “post-modernist” and “post-Cold War” strands of inquiry. In particular researchers were interested in how different and often contested conceptualisations of state borders (in terms of their political, social, cultural and symbolic significance) resonate in concrete contexts at the level of everyday life.

In 2017-2018 CISR researchers will work on a new project related to border studies – «“The layered cake” of Russian-Finnish neighborness: everyday interactions at different scales» (the project is funded by Kone Foundation, Finland).