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Living on the edge: the political economy of borders' patrimonialization processes 
Fátima Amante (Universidade de Lisboa, Institute of Social and Political Sciences, Centre for Public Administration and Public Policies)
Arsenio Dacosta (Universidad de Salamanca)
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Thursday 8 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Prague

Short Abstract:

This panel sets out to reflect on the political economy of memory and its relationship with borders' intangible heritage. What ideological and material criteria govern patrimonialization processes? We invite papers dealing with ethnographic and conceptual approaches to the panel topics.

Long Abstract:

Notwithstanding the transformation borders have undergone in the last decades, living on the border usually meant being removed from political and economic centers. Their historical and geopolitical configuration, located at the end of state territory, frequently resulted in territories sparsely populated, therefore overlooked by State's policy. Differently from the States who perceived borders as more or less inert political lines, people living on the borderlands saw it as a resource, taking advantage of its presence. Border crossing for petty smuggling perceived as an illegal activity by the State came to be understood as a way to resist the perils of living on the hinterland and the economic uncertainty it generates. For economically vulnerable people living on the periphery, the border itself became a resource, producing activities and subjectivities such as smugglers, commuters, and cross-border shoppers. These and other experiences with the border are important mnemonics and local identity traits that have been put to use in the present. Hence, past communitarian experiences with the border have been obsessively reinterpreted and appropriated by both local political institutions and local people through processes of patrimonialization of intangible heritage such as smuggling museums, the transformation of old smugglers routes in trekking paths, theatrical performances of everyday life at the border, etc. We find that this has been done in an astonishingly uncritical way, revealing the political economy of memory. The patrimonialization and touristification of the border's intangible heritage sidelines a past of violence and the trauma related to living on the border.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 8 June, 2023, -