Rescaling the Border: Nationalism and Civilisationalism in Central and Eastern Europe
Europe is a mosaic of cultures, histories, languages and identities. However, in recent years, homogenising, singular, civilisationist narratives, which inscribe people and places with essentialised qualities reaching beyond national borders, have increasingly been mobilised by populist politicians. This project will explore the changing role of borders in civilisationist tropes, and the ways in which familiar boundaries and territories are undergoing discursive and material shifts related to demarcating wider meta-regions and broader cultural-religious divides, often in opposition to liberal democratic ideas and ideals. The research will expand on existing understandings of civilisationism by foregrounding tensions between variegated, plural and heterogeneous borderscapes and their representation as binary choices between competing civilisationist realms. Through interviews and focus groups with local actors in Kharkiv (Ukraine), Adjara (Georgia) and the Székelyföld (Romania), the project will trace a rescaling and reimagining of borders along civilisationist lines, and a multiscalar struggle for identity and belonging in Europe’s borderlands.
Principal Investigator: Dr Paul Richardson, University of Birmingham