Memory and Everyday Borderwork: Understanding Border Temporalities

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The field of border studies has traditionally paid little attention to questions of temporality, leading to criticisms over its presentism and lack of historical reflexivity. A number of recent publications have brought temporal questions more centrally into border research, examining the changing and historically contingent nature of borders. This article intervenes in this body of scholarship, using memory as a means of studying the past and present of borders. Bringing border studies scholarship into a more systematic conversation with memory studies, the article shows how memories of the past play an important part in the symbolic construction of borders, and that processes of remembering are central to how citizens produce borders in everyday life. The focus on memory and everyday borderwork allows to go beyond linear and uniform conceptions of time that have shaped the writing on border temporality. It draws attention to how time is ordered and interpreted in non-linear and multiple ways and how these temporal orderings confirm, extend or question the meanings of borders. The usefulness of studying memory in everyday borderwork is exemplified through an analysis of memory narratives in the Russian-Estonian borderland, based on extensive fieldwork and the analysis of 58 narrative life-story interviews.




Pfoser, A. (2020). Memory and Everyday Borderwork: Understanding Border Temporalities. Geopolitics.

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