Bordering, Ordering, Belonging and Othering in the Albanian / Greek / Slavic Borderlands after 1989

Christian Voss, Agata Rogoś

The main focus of this panel will be based on the processes of witnessing, participant observing, the enactment of creation “at the margins of a marginalized community,” watching, witnessing, and assisting. Even though these fields have unique genealogies, methodologies, and theoretical foundations, we found that today they overlap in terms of shared critical vocabularies, research applications, and concerns about how identity, memory, and culture are internalized and enacted in formal public, social, ritual, and private settings. What function and meaning have these narratives of history and identity – produced from the borderlands – not those produced onto these spaces? How this space of borderlands can be reconstructed through the living and performing daily lives? What meaning bring the historical layers brought into space through languages, (socialist) aesthetics’ elements, and today’s ethnic groups’ representations? Bordering will be discussed in this panel as a continuous process incorporating several phenomena such as: political, social economic and ethnic. Bordering is also combing performativity with borders in the act of bordering that constitutes the mechanism of constructing, maintaining and controlling social and political orders. This leads us to the interrelation of multilayered structure of ordering and border-making. However, bordering is not exclusively referring to the physical and political borders – projects of governance, but equally to cultural, social and economic activities determining who belongs and who does not. That is why the political projects of belonging, being directly connected with processes of othering would construct borders as permeable and are closely related to identity and belonging of particular groups. To introduce them in a dialoguing model of meaning production of parallel and complementary realities dealing with one issue – comparing old and new sets of social and spatial relations producing boundaries and hierarchies or zones and enclaves. In other words, looking on the borders and borderlands as on new patterns of occupying space, which is spatially imagined, designed, physically built and rooted in violent patriarchies. This panel will discuss a broad selection of case studies producing a microscale model for comprehending transformations of the borderlands’ everyday life, its visual and oral narratives from the borders through remembrance of the past. The local or peripheral spatial orders as a result of the process of commoning and uncommoning of the space might be connected with areal and visual reformulations and construction of new cultural landscapes along the borders. All these processes understood in terms of space and new spatial orders and on the other hand social relations based on mobility that considers these places as bordered, constructing a relationship between here and there or still here and already there.