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Fixed Lines, Permanent Transitions

Research profile seminar

International borders, cross-border communities and the transforming experience of otherness.
The presentation is based on a paper with the same name by Giacamo Orsini, Andrew Canessa, and Luis Martinez. The paper draws on three studies conducted in Melilla and Morocco, Lampedusa and Tunisia, Gibraltar and Spain.

Beyond their most physical manifestations as fences, gates and border guards, international borders are social constructs that are experienced by individuals as they attempt to cross them.

Structured on the ground as relatively fixed lines, the functioning of international borders transform through time as the crossing is alternatively allowed or negated depending on the mutating relations amongst bordering countries.

As a consequence, cross-border communities' experiences of the border space they inhabit vary through time, as local social, cultural, and economic life structures around the border on both sides of it.

Here we draw thus on three studies conducted since 2008: Melilla and Morocco, Lampedusa and Tunisia, Gibraltar and Spain.
By looking at the recent history of local cross-border relations there, this work analyses how the tightening of previously porous borders worked to alter existing sociocultural, economic and political close relations across both sides of the frontier.

As Lampedusa and Melilla became spots on the European external border, locals' almost osmotic relations with Tunisia and Morocco diminished significantly, effecting a profound transformation of individual and communities' experiences of sameness and otherness.

Similarly, despite its geographical fixity, throughout the 20th century the border between Gibraltar and Spain worked both as a bridge - when the economic, social and political differentials it generated functioned as incentives for locals to cross it - and as an almost insurmountable obstacle - when Spanish authorities closed it between 1969 and 1985.

The aim of this work is thus to unpack the many ways in which borders transform local linguistic, cultural, ethnic and economic constellations of neighboring "Others".

Professor Andrew Canessa is a social anthropologist at the University of Essex, UK, and has worked for many years with Aymara speakers in highland Bolivia. Among his research interests are indigenous studies, Latin America, especially the Andes, gender and sexualities, ethnic and racial identities.

He is currently finishing an ESRC funded project "Bordering on Britishness: An Oral History Study of Gibraltarian Identity". The project explores how Gibraltar evolved from an overwhelming Spanish speaking in the beginning of the 20th century to one which is increasingly anglophone and where most people passionately reject any association with Spanishness.

Lecturer: Andrew Canessa, University of Essex, UK

Date: 11/15/2018

Time: 1:15 PM - 3:00 PM

Categories: Genusvetenskap, Diversity, International, Social Sciences , Interdisciplinary, Latin American Studies, Etnologi

Organizer: CGM and Social anthropology at SGS

Location: Annedalseminariet, Seminariegatan 1 A
Room 407

Contact person: Centrum för Global Migration

Page Manager: Helena Svensson|Last update: 4/11/2014
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