Accepted Paper:

Socio-cultural changes in the relationship of two german settlements along the Hungarian-Romanian border during the 20th century  


Levente Szilágyi (HAS Research Centre for the Humanities)

Paper short abstract:

The paper is trying to answer the question that the identity of ethnic groups divided by boundaries - in this case Germans (Schwabs) of Csanálos (Romania) and Vállaj (Hungary) - has experienced modification that clearly was forced upon them due to new borders.

Paper long abstract:

In 1920, under the Treaty of Trianon a superimposed type of boundary was set up between Csanálos (Romania) and Vállaj (Hungary), which would affect the development of the intrinsically intertwined social networks - typically operated through kinship systems - of residents of the two settlements in a crucial way. The presence of a century-old border caused a progressive debilitating of the kinship systems.

Due to their Schwab origin, residents of the two villages very soon, at the time of the appearance of the border, found themselves in the crossfire of political games driven by powerful interests. The Schwab identity until the 1989 collapse of socialist system faced various challenges, so it followed a different development. It resulted large German emigration in Csanálos, and increased assimilation in Vállaj. After collapse of socialist system ethnic processes became uniform. Schwab identity nowadays is represented almost equally in the two villages.

As a result of border the mentality of people living in two settlements has changed. In fact, the context defined by the new government framework caused the division, the border as an institutions of flow could not provide the level of information exchange between the two sides that would compensate the external forces. As they started weakening in 1990s, a process of leveling started. However it caused not the reorganization of former relationships, but mostly manifested in the development of institutional relationships.

Panel Mig006
Border control policies and borderland social practices