Does Growing Nationalism Trigger Transnational Cooperation Among Cosmopolitans? The Case of the German-Polish Border Towns Frankfurt (Oder) & Słubice

  • Abstract:

    In a time characterised by growing nationalism, do cosmopolitans seek to counterbalance the growing opposition to cross-border cooperation by enhancing transnational cooperation? This will be elaborated at the micro level by assessing transborder conflict dynamics between cosmopolitan and nationalist local deputies from the German-Polish border towns Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice. Although the common urban area was divided in 1945, social interaction among the German and Polish community reawakened with the eastward enlargement of the EU in 2004 and the Schengen area in 2007. However, building up a common micro-cosmopolitan identity among German and Polish town citizens has also met significant scepticism and resistance on both sides of the border. This opposition is grounded on an exclusive national identity, historic traumas, uncertainties of post-socialist transition and unemployment, demographic change and fear of cross-border crime. In this respect, Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice can help to examine the struggle between cosmopolitans and nationalists on the micro-European level. The following paper documents the theoretical and methodological approach. Empirical tests of the hypotheses will follow in summer 2016.