|Title: ||Shopping for a New Identity: Constructions of the Polish–German border in a Polish Border community|
|Citation: ||Ethnicities, 5(4): 510-529|
|Publisher: ||Sage Publications|
|Issue Date: ||2005 |
|Additional Links: ||http://etn.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/5/4/510|
|Abstract: ||This article aims to show the varying constructions of the Polish–German border in the Polish border town of Zgorzelec. We are interested in how informants from three generations discursively position the frontier itself and the two towns on its either side: Polish Zgorzelec and German Görlitz. The data comes from a Europe-wide ethnographic project studying communities living on the borders between the European Union (EU) and its ascendant nations, funded by the European Commission's Fifth Framework Programme.
We suggest that the inhabitants of Zgorzelec construct the border on two planes: public and private. In the public sphere, the border is constructed as a means of identifying ‘us Poles’ against all those living on the other side. In those nationalized terms, the border is also constructed as protecting Poland and Zgorzelec's (Polish) community. On the other hand, in the private sphere, the border is represented as virtually invisible allowing the individual to cross it for shopping or entertainment. The border becomes a gateway in which the individual becomes a customer, a shopper with his or her national identity pushed to the background. We also show that the two spheres intersect, creating spaces in which the two orders of discourse are made to co-exist and the discursive mechanisms of separation run next to the mechanisms of inclusion.
We explore our informants’ discourses as mediated by the historical context of common experience (eviction, displacement, communism) pertaining mostly to the older generation and by the cultural-economic context (shopping, entertainment) largely in the case of our younger informants. (Sage Publications)|
|Appears in Collections: ||Europe: Trend and Transformation Research Group|
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