Towards Culturally Sustainable Borderlands: Diversity Management and Cross-border Co-operation

By:
Karri Kiiskinen
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This paper focuses on the role that cross-border co-operation has in the borderland development, its cultural implications for local communities. The new institutional forms of cross-border co-operation (European Union) and the more informal local development initiatives are conceptualized as mechanisms of cultural exchange, constituting a kind of culture of co-operation. In this way, the capacity and sensitivity of cross-border co-operation to support culturally sustainable interaction over the politically and otherwise constructed borders is evaluated. Such concepts as cultural memory and imagery, ”cultural heritage”, and the politics of culture, are addressed in relation to cross-border co-operation motives, skills and access.

Geographically the focus of this paper is on the ”ceded territory” between Finland and Russia (the result of World War II), and its development in the last 15 post-Soviet years. The Finnish-Russian border is still often described as the widest welfare gap in the world, and also as an East-West boundary in terms of civilizations and folk culture. The aim is to outline, in a strive to adapt definitions of cultural sustainability to borderland conditions, those core phenomena and their (qualitative) indicators, that best describe the conditions for culturally sustainable exchange/communication from the perspective of the borderland communities, their ”cultural system” and socio-cultural change. This is not to say that cultural sustainability would or should precede other forms of sustainable development, but its consequences are seen worthy of recognition, especially in the potentially widening CBC context. The conclusions of the paper are based on a literature analysis as well as interviews with cross-border actors and other individuals representing the communities of the borderland region. This paper is an intermediate report of my ongoing PhD research.


Keywords: Cross-border Co-operation, Ceded Territories, Cultural Heritage, Cultural Exchange, Borders, Boundaries, European Union, Finland, Russia, Karelia
Stream: Cultural Sustainability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Towards Culturally Sustainable Borderlands


Karri Kiiskinen

Post-graduate Student, School of Cultural Research, Ethnology, University of Turku
Finland

In autumn 1999 studied in Sweden at the University of Lund, Department of Ethnology, and in spring 2001 at the Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Instytut Etnologii, in Kraków, Poland. In 2003 MA thesis on representations of the Polish Roma minority (based on a fieldwork in Southern Poland), finalized at the University of Turku, Finland. As of 2005 working full-time with Phd reserch that aims to focus on the large scale as well as the local cultural processes in the borderlands in the midst of new institutionalization, and the universally proclaimed goal of sustainable development.

Ref: S06P0261