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Crossing the borders in times of the pandemic: changing experiences of transnational everyday life from European border regions and beyond 
Pihla Maria Siim (University of Tartu)
Markus Idvall (Stockholm University)
Fredrik Nilsson (Åbo Akademi University)
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Laura Assmuth (University of Eastern Finland)
Elo-Hanna Seljamaa (University of Tartu)
Monday 21 June, 14:00-15:45 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

Borders, both as physical and symbolic entities, have regained power and importance since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel aims to trace both the long-term and short-term consequences this has for transnational everyday life, in European border regions and beyond.

Long Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed people's everyday life across the globe. Borders, both as physical and symbolic entities are back with us, having regained power and importance also for people we used to think of as mobile in a privileged way. Re-bordering has taken place also in regions such as the European Union where de-bordering had been going on for decades. The national governments handle the pandemic in their own national contexts, making borders contested areas. The abrupt measures taken by governments are thought of and meant to be short-term, but experience shows that their effects rather tend to be long-term. For those regularly crossing state borders the pandemic has brought a need to reorganise their life according to "new normality" and established restrictions.

This panel welcomes theoretical, empirical or methodological inquiries into the changing experiences of transnational everyday life. Papers can present ongoing work, and research ideas developing with the phases of the pandemic, addressing issues such as: experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic in border regions from an ethnographic viewpoint; inequalities and rule-breaking related to crossing of borders; bodies crossing or separated by the border; power in relation to spatial politics and practices; symbolic borders that have emerged or gained increased relevance in uncertain circumstances and under new kinds of border regimes, e.g. xenophobic attitudes towards migrants; the short-term or long-term consequences of the pandemic for transnational everyday life, e.g. return migration, new lifestyles, remote work, care.

Accepted papers: