Border Methodologies – Panel Session at the 2nd ABS World Conference

10-14 July 2018, Vienna & Budapest

There is an increased interdisciplinary interest in the topic of borders and borderlands. Correspondingly, the field of border studies was growing quite fast in the last years. Despite the increasing number of case studies on different borders across the world and the deepening of theoretical and conceptual thoughts on borders and bordering, there is a significant lack of systematic and comparative reflections on the methodological foundations and consequences of border studies. In our understanding, methodologies link theoretical and empirical accounts as they gather the relationship of epistemological perspectives, choice of research methods and reflections on their scope, reflections on the research process and the role of the researchers, assumptions about the heuristic use of theories, reflections on types of data and their explanatory power etc.

Parallel to the diversification of methods and methodologies within the social sciences the awareness grew for a necessity of carefully choosing methods, reflecting the research process and considering the role of the researchers as these are crucial aspects of the fabrication of scientific accounts. While more traditional research fields have reacted to these questions in a varied and productive way, we think that the comparatively young endeavor of interdisciplinary border studies still needs to take this step. Within border studies it seems that methodological issues are usually addressed en passant. The panel starts from this observation and asks for a focused methodological reflection on adequate border analysis. Therefore, we would like to invite contributions which are concerned with questions like:

  • Which methodological considerations does your research follow?
  • Are there special methodological considerations which an analysis of borders needs?
  • How does your border research connect epistemological perspective and choice of methods?
  • (How) Do you combine different methodologies?
  • Which ways of overcoming a methodological nationalism can be found?
  • How do you deal methodologically with the increasing complexity of border gestalt today?
  • Which methodological obstacles are typical for borders and thus need further reflection?

Our panel would like to initiate a discussion about intellectual resources, relevant questions and identifiable obstacles of border methodologies. At the same time, we would like to map the diversity of methodological approaches within border research. Finally, the discussion of methodologies should provide some links between empirical and conceptual approaches to borders and bordering processes.


For more information on this panel, please contact: grenztheorien@europa‐