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Across the Øresund: A narrative case study of the connections between national borders and national sentiments in a European cross-border region


  • Denise Nilsson

Summary, in English

Within the field of border studies, a common theoretical assumption is that national borders and national sentiments are interconnected. Some even argue that national boundaries are a precondition of national sentiments (Anderson & O'Dowd, 1999; Paasi, 1998 (b)). If one instead looks toward cross-border regions, an equally accepted theory is that national borders create regional asymmetries motivating people to move across borders (Löfgren, 2008; Anderson & O'Dowd, 1999). From this perspective, borders have an integrating rather than separating effect. Thus, there seems to be a theoretical contradiction between how national borders and national sentiments generally are experienced in the nation-state, and how they are experienced in the borderlands. By utilizing the concrete methodological structure provided by the narrative policy framework, this thesis sets out to analytically investigate how regional narratives of institutionalized cross-border actors in the Øresund area challenge national perspectives on the connections between borders and national sentiments. Focusing on the Øresund narrative, as it has been communicated by the cross-border organization Greater Copenhagen during the Covid-19 pandemic in the years 2021, and early 2022, the study explores how nationally formulated territoriality, sentiments, and enabling as well as restricting aspects of the border are narratively understood and experienced in the Øresund region. The thesis concludes that the regional Øresund narrative, communicated by Greater Copenhagen, rarely mentions national sentiments and therefore, makes no connection between national sentiments and national borders. However, this should probably not be understood as a criticism of the nationally formulated connection between the phenomena. Rather, it should be understood as a competing cross-border narrative with different prioritizations and ideas of what the border should mean. In this competing narrative, the enabling, rather than the separating aspects of borders are for example highlighted.







Examensarbete för masterexamen (Två år)


  • Social Sciences


  • Cross-border
  • National Sentiments
  • Narrative Policy Framework
  • Regional narratives
  • Borders
  • Cross-border integration
  • Territoriality
  • Øresund
  • Greater Copenhagen
  • European Studies


  • Mattias Nowak