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Katharina Koch is a postdoctoral fellow in the RELATE Centre of Excellence, Geography Research Unit at the University of Oulu. She is also a visiting researcher in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary.
The Ukrainian crisis (2013–2014), the "refugee crisis" of 2015, the recent terror attacks on European soil, and the threat of EU disintegration caused by the challenging Brexit negotiations since March 2017 have sparked a "crisis of trust" (c.f. Withers 2018) among the population of EU member states towards politicians and institutions. This crisis manifests in a general uneasiness towards "the Other" in the form of increased right-wing party success and apprehension towards foreigners and immigrants in the EU. Previous research suggests that there has been no consistent engagement with the study of trust in border studies despite the widespread acknowledgement that it is a crucial asset in cross-border cooperation settings. To address this conceptual and empirical gap, this presentation concentrates on the role of trust from the perspectives of borders and bordering processes in the EU. The aim is to show how the concept of trust assists researchers in conceptualizing the social construction of borders and to understand its significance for cross-border cooperation. The presentation focuses on the formation of trust discourses in Finland in relation to the Finnish-Russian border.
Sponsored by the Department of Geography, the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Critical Border Studies, and the University of Lethbridge Border Studies Group.