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Video - The Heuristic Interest of the Concept of “Phantom Borders” - Béatrice von Hirschhausen

The Heuristic Interest of the Concept of “Phantom Borders” in the Understanding of Cultural Regionalization

Keynote : Béatrice von Hirschhausen (Centre Marc Bloch

Presentation : Isabella Löhr (Centre Marc Bloch)

Introduction : Christian Voß ( Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)

8th of December 2021

How should we deal with cultural areas today? Do they offer meaningful levels for understanding societies and what status should be given to them? For a long time, the answer to this question seemed clear and consensual. A cultural area was considered to be a major level of description of the world, established by the crystallisation of a cultural system on a territory and whose normative, social and institutional structures were reproduced over the long term. However, for the past thirty years, the discontent has taken hold without finding a real solution. In order to reinterrogate the intertwining of history, culture and space, we will examine the surprising appearance of traces left in the geography of contemporary social practices by borders that have been gone for several generations. These ‘Phantom borders' are most often perceived as expressions of 'cultural' differences between regions and referred to 'mentalities' established over time. However, we will see that they are as much about the past as they are about present circumstances, about duration as well as ephemerality, about ‘reality’ as much as about geographical imaginations. They will allow us to explore the construction of cultural areas without reifying them, to question their duration without freezing them in an anhistorical time and to question the changing weaving of practices, experiences and social imaginations. Border studies at intersections of subject boundaries Ecole doctorale / Doktorand*innen Schule / Doctoral school Centre Marc Bloch / Humboldt-Universität (Berlin)

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