Border Communities

Project history

The project has been conducted in two phases. The first, exploratory, phase, The “Long European Post-War Period” in Communicative Memories and (Trans)National Public Spheres: Case Studies in Border Communities, was developed by Berthold Molden together with the institute’s founding director Oliver Rathkolb and was coordinated by the former from 2005 to 2010. The interview material and case study reports produced during this phase were collected in an electronic archive and are available to affiliated researchers for further study.

In Spring 2010 the project moved into its second phase, Border Communities: Microstudies on Everyday Life, Politics and Memory in European Societies from 1945 to the Present. The focus has moved to the everyday life experience at the border and to microstudies of societies under communist rule, centering on the issues of belonging and dealing with the communist past as exemplified by border communities.

International cooperation

LBI EHP cooperates with other institutions and individual researchers (see “Affiliated researchers”) concerned with the subject of borders. In 2009, a cooperation with the Chair for Southeast and East European History at the University of Regensburg was established. In 2010 institutional agreements resulting from successful individual cooperations in the first phase of the project were signed with Selye János University in Komárno (Slovakia) and Babeş Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (Romania).

Programme of the workshop "Border Communities: Microstudies on Everyday Life and Memory in European Societies from 1945 to the Present", 14/15 October 2010

Research locations

Five case studies were conducted in the first phase of the project under the coordination of LBI EHP in Vienna:

East/West borders

  • Bad Sooden-Allendorf (FRG) – Asbach-Sickenberg / Wahlhausen (GDR)
  • Gmünd (A) – České Velenice (ČSSR/ČR)

Inner Eastern Bloc borders

  • Salonta (RO) – Méhkerék (HU)
  • Komárom (H) – Komárno (SK) (Sponsored by Erste Foundation)
  • Görlitz (DDR/BRD) – Zgorzelec (PL) 


Selected Publications

by LBI EHP key researchers:

  • Muriel Blaive, Thomas Lindenberger, „Border guarding as social practice: a case study of communist governance and hidden transcripts“, in Marc Silberman, Karen Till, Janet Ward (eds), Walls, Borders, Boundaries, New York, Berghahn, 2011, forthcoming.
  • Muriel Blaive, „Aux avants postes du bloc socialiste České Velenice, ville tchèque à la frontière avec l’Austriche”, Vingtième siècle (special issue on popular democracies coordinated by Sandrine Kott and Justine Faure), November 2010, forthcoming.
  • Muriel Blaive, „La question épineuse de la collaboration dans l’appréciation du passé communiste tchèque: quelques reflexions”, in Pascal Bonnard, Georges Mink (eds), L’Europe et ses gisements mémoriels, Paris, Houdiard, 2010, forthcoming.