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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
In connection with processes taking place in the 1990s, zones of “new borderland”formed in Russia, many of which first acquired the status of national borders. The article discussesthe concepts of the most popular modern borderland studies and their applicability to thesociological study of modern border communities. Basically, studies of borders and border areasby different disciplines such as geography, geopolitics, economics and law contained data on thediscrete territories. It is shown that the most serious problems of interpretation of internationalborders in this field of interactions began in the era of the “Cold War”, when it became necessaryfor countries with different political regimes to peacefully coexist after World War II. Approachesto the study of the borderland have used different theories: the theory of rational choice, neoinstitutionalism,functionalism, neofunctionalism, transnationalism, globalism, constructivism,neo-Marxism, etc. However, analysis of these concepts does not provide an answer to the mainquestion – how do all these processes involve people living in the border areas, what socioculturalcharacteristics does a border region have, does it serve as not only a type of outpost of the statebut also to bridge the socio-economic, cultural, scientific, etc. exchange across borders? Duringthe conceptualisation of the basic concepts of the study, the author determined that the object ofstudy is the borderland as a socio-cultural phenomenon and that local communities, the subject,are defined as conglomerates of border residents of Russian regions directly bordering withneighbouring states. Thus, the basic functions of the borderland were identified as social andcultural space. They include the protection and defence of the national state and its sovereignty,creating conditions for the development of inter-state and / or interregional cooperation,establishing contacts in various spheres of activity, and promoting a positive image of Russia. Nomatter how transparent or fortified a border is, it still creates a distinction between “here” and“there.” In connection with the disappearance of the old and emerging of new boundaries, thereis a new definition of the spatial and territorial fixation of borderlands.
the sociological theory, new border areas, socio-cultural space, the national state, sovereignty, security