Bordering imaginaries and the everyday construction of the Mediterranean neighbourhood: Introduction to the special issue

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Scott, James W.
Celata, Filippo
Coletti, Raffaella
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This special issue of European Urban and Regional Studies maps out a move from a strictly geopolitical to more sociopolitical and socio-cultural interpretations of the European Union’s (EU’s) ‘Mediterranean neighbourhood’. In doing this, the authors propose a dialogic understanding of neighbourhood as a set of ideas and imaginaries that reflect not only top-down geopolitical imaginaries but also everyday images, representations and imaginations. The introduction briefly summarizes conceptualizations of ‘neighbourhood’ provided by the individual contributions that connect the realm of high politics with that of communities and individuals who are affected by and negotiate the EU’s Mediterranean borders. Specifically, three cases of socio-spatial imaginaries that exemplify patterns of differential inclusion of the ‘non-EU’ will be explored. The cases involve Italy–Tunisia cross-border relations, the EU’s post-‘Arab Spring’ engagement with civil society actors and the case of Northern Cyprus. The authors suggest that ‘neighbourhood’ can be conceptualized as a borderscape of interaction and agency that is politically framed in very general terms but that in detail is composed of many interlinked relational spaces. The European neighbourhood emerges as a patchwork of relations, socio-cultural encounters, confrontation and contestation, rather than merely as a cooperation policy or border regime.
Mediterrán-térség , Európai szomszédsági politika , térképzet , határkutatás , geopolitika
European Urban and Regional Studies 26:(1) pp. 3-8. (2019)