Culture networks and their influence on cross-border interrelations The case of Upper Rhine Region, a EU cross-border region

Authors: Ahmed Bakry*, Heidelberg University, Anna Growe, Heidelberg University
Topics: Behavioral Geography, Europe, Regional Geography
Keywords: Culture geography, Cultural networks, Cross-border interrelations, National border effect
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In the last decades, cross-border regional developments and interrelations have been analyzed through the lens of networks, with a focus on economic as well as on governance networks. However, the analysis of cultural networks is underrepresented in cross-border regional analyses. To reintroduce the focus on cultural networks it is necessary to focus on (1.) what is meant by culture and (2.) how cultural networks influence cross-border relations.
This paper focuses on these two questions. Culture is understood as complex interrelation of values, behaviors, and artifacts. To analyze the influence of cultural networks on cross-border areas, the paper works on the Upper Rhine cross-border region as a case study, a region that is enclaved between Germany, France, and Switzerland.
The Upper Rhine region is analyzed using two data sets, a qualitative and a quantitative data set. The analytical framework is based on the interlocking networking model (INM) developed by Taylor (2001) to measure networks and cities centralities. However, some adaptations to the INM have been made to analyze cultural networks in cross-border regions.
Results show that although strong network relations can be identified in the Upper Rhine cross-border region, a negative national border effect exists, leading to uneven integration of German, Swiss, and French cities in cultural networks.

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