[URBANTH-L]REV: Fahrmeir on Stacul et al, Crossing European Boundaries

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Thu Dec 7 12:34:42 EST 2006

[forwarded from H-German]

Published by H-German at h-net.msu.edu (November 2006)

Jaro Stacul, Christina Moutsou and Helen Kopnina, eds. _Crossing
European Boundaries: Beyond Conventional Geographic Categories_.
New Directions in Anthropology series. New York: Berghahn Books,
2006. x + 238 pp. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $65 (cloth),
ISBN 1-84545-150-3.

Reviewed for H-German by Andreas Fahrmeir, Universität Frankfurt

The articles in this volume represent anthropological approaches to
the study of external and internal boundaries in Europe. The authors
raise fascinating methodological and empirical questions by
approaching European societies from the perspective of a discipline
usually working on the basis of greater cultural distance between
scholars and the objects of their research. Moreover, the volume
tackles a subject usually understood as a political project and a
political problem, E.U. Europe, in an original non-political-science

The volume's case studies are all based on bottom-up views of Europe,
with fieldwork the methodology of choice. The first articles focus on
institutions. Cris Shore and Daniela Baratieri's article focuses on the
ambivalent results of attempts by European schools, which cater
mainly to Eurocrats in Brussels and Luxemburg, to replace nationalism
with a sense of European identity or nationhood, while Gregory Feldman
discusses Estonian programs for the integration of Russian-speakers
and Davide Però addresses the position of Italy's left-wing parties and
public to the "new immigration." While these essays argue that "Europe"
may not be as destructive to national (institutional) boundaries or the
nation state as is often supposed, the next block of articles tackles
migration across boundaries in a more conventional perspective,
focusing on particular immigrant groups. Helen Kopnina discusses
Russians in London and Amsterdam, while Christina Moutsou focuses
upon immigrants in Brussels and Jacqueline Waldren examines
Bosnians in Mallorca. To me, the case study of Turkish migrants in
West Berlin by Sabine Mannitz is particularly intriguing, because it
uses the peculiar experience of a lesson on Jews' fate in the Holocaust
in which the teacher cast immigrants as permanent outsiders in Germany
to explore pupils' sense of boundaries, and the East-German
West-German divide appeared to loom much larger for immigrants than
that between foreigners and Germans.

The last section focuses on concrete and contested boundaries in
European states and towns: William F. Kelleher, Jr. discusses Northern
Ireland, Greek towns are the focus of Venetia Evergeti and Eleftheria
Deltsou's article and South Tyrol is examined by Jaro Stacul. The volume
makes for diverse and diversifying reading, and can only be highly
recommended to anyone interested in innovative perspectives on the fate
of the European project.

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