January 15, 2010

Borders as resources mechanisms and general conditions of transborder smallscale,trade and smuggling, 04/22-23/2010, Leipzig

Deadline: January 31, 2010

Workshop: “Borders as resources – mechanisms and general conditions of transborder smallscale trade and smuggling”
Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL)
Leipzig, April 22-23, 2010

Call for Papers

Small-scale trade and smuggling are part of everyday life at many borders. If there is a difference of prosperity along the border leading to considerable price differences in the adjacent countries, the border may be used as an economic resource by many inhabitants living nearby. Smuggling of cigarettes, alcohol and fuel or the – at first glance – legal transport of commodities such as clothing or electronic devices: trading activities as the above mentioned ones often compensate for economic shortages that many households are suffering from in consequence of e.g. political transformation processes. Therefore, transborder smallscale trade and smuggling are possibilities to cope with stressful periods of biographic transition such as unemployment and poverty. The phenomena of transborder small-scale trade and smuggling are multi-faceted. This is reflected in their different labelling, e.g. “contraband”, “suitcase trade”, shuttle trade” or “trading tourism”. Despite the diversity of transborder small-scale trade and smuggling and their wide dispersion, not only in Europe, their reception within social sciences is relatively low.

One aim of the interdisciplinary workshop is to contrast research results on transborder smallscaletrade and smuggling in Eastern and Central Europe with insights into these economic
activities from other world regions. Furthermore, the workshop attempts to serve as a platformfor exchange of ideas on similarities and differences of the mentioned transborder economic
activities and to reflect on the current status of research. Additionally, an intensification of interdisciplinary networking between researchers dealing with small-scale trade andsmuggling is intended. In view of the illegal character of the object of research it is especially important to discuss adequate methods for empirical research.

The workshop wants to address three key aspects:
1. Concrete functioning of transborder small-scale trade and smuggling and their individual meanings for participating actors: How is the interaction between small-scale traders and
smugglers and the border regime organized? Which negotiation processes take place between traders, smugglers and representatives of the border regime? Which tactics andstrategies do traders and smugglers apply in order to successfully cross the border? In what way do transborder small-scale trade and smuggling influence the organization of every day life of the traders? How do the latter use the income gained by their crossborder economic activities?
2. Regional meanings of transborder small-scale trade and smuggling: Where is it located within the conflicting contexts of illegality and legitimacy? How are small-scale trade and smuggling evaluated by external actors? In what way are the activities embedded in regional structures and specific norms? In what way do they influence the organisation of social life in the region? Which mechanisms of small-scale trade and smuggling are functioning universally, which ones rather locally? In how far does their organization depend on external circumstances? These two thematic dimensions should be addressed also under a historical perspective: In what way have transborder small-scale trade and smuggling changed in the course of time?
3. Reflections on methods: How can researchers achieve valid results in the light of the sensitivity of transborder small-scale trade and smuggling? What methods can be used and combined with each other in a reasonable manner?

Deadline for the submission of abstracts is January 31, 2010. Abstracts must be limited to 300 words or less. We welcome empirical studies in progress as well as conceptual papers from
different scientific disciplines (e.g. geography, sociology, ethnology, political sciences, history). Please submit your abstracts to Bettina Bruns (B_Bruns@ifl-leipzig.de)

For all other enquiries please contact
Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde
Dr. Bettina Bruns
Schongauerstraße 9
04329 Leipzig
Phone: +49-341-2556531

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