Eastern boundaries, money and gender: exploring shifting locations of identity and difference on the European peripheries

Sarah Green (University of Helsinki)
Laura Assmuth (University of Eastern Finland)
Sarah Green and Laura Assmuth
Yael Navaro-Yashin
Victoria Victoria's
Start time:
21 September, 2006 at 11:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This workshop explores boundary transformations of the various Easts (post-socialist, orientalist) within the reshaping of Europe, focusing on how money and/or gender become entangled in boundaries appearing, disappearing or transforming.

Long abstract:

This workshop will explore the social process of generating, redefining, erasing and/or invoking the boundaries of the various Easts (both post-socialist and orientalist) in relation to Europe. Rather than take the existence of these boundaries and their recent political transformations for granted, the workshop will explore how such boundaries sometimes appear, sometimes disappear, sometimes blend or overlap and sometimes shift considerably in their iconic or metaphorical significance. Even if a clear boundary exists in bureaucratic terms (eg the state border between Greece and Albania or the different passports held by Finnish and Russian citizens), its existence as a boundary marking significant differences between the sides, and the nature of the differences it marks, is always contingent. While state and supra-state (eg European Union) policies may define, control, remove and represent formal territorial borders, the process of making these into meaningful boundaries, ones that generate a sense of location, belonging, or alienation is entangled in the relations, practices and perceptions of people as they go about their everyday lives. As such, these boundaries do not, of course, only exist on the geographical peripheries of Europe: they permeate cities, towns and the countryside, they cross political borders, and they travel the world along with the people who find them meaningful. Often, it is in the mundane daily life of villages, small towns and cities where the process of boundary-shaping becomes most evident, rather than on the territorial political borders themselves. Two themes, money and gender, will be the focus of discussion: as both centrally involve relationships and exchange and are also almost invariably drawn upon when evoking differences that generate meaningful boundaries, these themes can provide a useful focus for researchers working in very different European regions (eg the Balkans, the Baltics and Central Europe).