Borders and Emotions


The paper argues that the emotional aspects of identity construction at international borders, and the ways in which different feelings and sentiments affect border people’s perceptions and actions, have in the main remained an underexplored field of research. The analyses focus on the Bohemian-Bavarian frontier zone, and shows that the inhabitants’ perceptions of those on the other side have been strongly affected by memories of the horrors of the Second World War and the post-war Sudeten German expulsion. Emotional displays and discourses of emotions have been actively used in the negation of social reality in the first post-Cold War decade. Introducing an analytical distinction between ‘evoked’, ‘remembered’, and ‘re-experienced’ emotions, the paper outlines how emotionally complex memories can become a political force, weakening or strengthening both national and transnational identities.

How to Cite

Svasek, M., (2000) “Borders and Emotions”, Ethnologia Europaea 30(2), p.111-126. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.



Maruska Svasek (The Queens University of Belfast)



Publication details



All rights reserved


Peer Review

This article has not been peer reviewed.

File Checksums (MD5)

  • PDF: 5ba667b37e06619ddbe4a38a61e47ff0