Conference 2012

Conference "Unpacking Cross-Border Governance"

Luxembourg, 6-7 September 2012

This conference is organised with the support of FNR (Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg)

The Metrolux research team at the Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies (CEPS/INSTEAD), is organizing a conference entitled "Unpacking Cross-Border Governance" to be held 6-7 September 2012 in Luxembourg City.

Important deadlines

March, 15th 2012: abstract submission
The deadline for the paper submission for the Metrolux conference entitled "Unpacking cross-border governance", organized in Luxembourg City on 6-7 September 2012, has been extended to April 30, 2012

May, 25th 2012: notification of paper acceptance

After the conference: full paper submission

Moreover, the research team Metrolux is pleased to inform you that three eminent border scholars will be participating as keynote speakers: - Prof. Emmanuel BRUNET-JAILLY (University of Victoria, Canada) - Prof. Liam O'DOWD (Queens University Belfast, UK) - Prof. James SCOTT (Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland)
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Call for papers


September 6-7, 2012, Luxembourg City

Significant attention has been devoted to the issue of "cross-border governance" over the past two decades, especially in Europe, where supra-national integration and the development of cross-border regions have been the subject of a multitude of analyses in academic and policy fields. Our understanding of the logics and processes underlying the emergence of new institutional spaces and the associated forms of governance remains, however, incomplete. While the singularly protean and fluid nature of the subject matter may partially explain this, progress in the academic debate and the establishment of new theoretical perspectives have given raise to new research questions.

By foregrounding the idea of "unpacking" the concept of cross-border governance, this conference aims to deepen our examination and knowledge, within the context of two particular perspectives. First, the aim is to examine the conceptual and theoretical foundations underpinning the analysis of cross-border governance. With a determined focus on explanation, this perspective aims to make sense of the multiplicity of case studies and the diversity of initiatives. Seeking to understand cross-border governance in its full complexity involves new conceptual articulations and the use of new paradigms. Second, we want to pay particular attention to critical perspectives which question mainstream institutional ideas based on normative or positive attitudes. The coordination of relations between actors located on either side of national borders is never "neutral" and never solely a technical or managerial matter; rather, it accounts for conflict and power struggles. It is thus important to expose the power issues at stake and the interests that often remain obscured in official discourse if one is to fully understand the logics at work and their political and ethical significance.

On the basis of this twofold theoretical and critical requirement, this multidisciplinary conference intends to debate three specific research issues of interest to geographers, political scientists, historians, sociologists and economists.

1. Debordering/rebordering: how to understand the changing reality of borders in a non-binary way?

In the 1990s, research on borders and cross-border regions was focussed on the effects of globalisation and the opening of borders in a context dominated by the dismantling of the iron curtain, macro-regional integration (EU, NAFTA) and the liberalisation of commercial, financial and informational flows. Cross-border governance was essentially understood in relation to a context of "debordering". The 9/11 attacks dramatically altered this trend and put the focus on issues relating to the terrorist risk and, by extension, the control of migration. The dynamics of "debordering" gave way to the alternative logic of "rebordering". However, rather than understanding the nature of cross-border relations on the basis of borders which are open or closed to a greater or lesser extent, we believe it is more useful to think of the border as an ambivalent object which can be at once open to certain types of flows, networks and mobilities and closed to others. The issue is then one of establishing how this ambiguity affects the governance of cross-border regions, to the extent to which the functional changes of borders bring into play divergent interests which operate at different scales and in various temporalities. Such an examination also involves questioning the changing reality of borders by paying particular attention to practices of "borderisation", and to their underlying logics and imaginaries.

2. Between cooperation and competition: which articulations within a cross-border governance in search of meaning?

Discourses on cross-border cooperation, advanced by the European idea and the multiplication of cross-border regionalisation projects, have sometimes given the impression that the latter is self-evidently seen as desirable from the time at which borders are opened. Constructivist considerations have shown that the existence of geographical proximity, cultural similarities or functional interactions are not sufficient to explain the development of cross-border cooperation and regions. As a historically-contingent process of institutionalisation, there is nothing inevitable about cross-border cooperation. While it concerns a shared will based on a convergence of interests, it also involves power struggles and a rearrangement of relations. Taking as its starting point a rather "disenchanted" view on cross-border cooperation, the approach proposed aims to expand the focus on the determinants of and issues at stake in cross-border governance. To achieve this, it is useful to recall that cooperation is not the only option: competition or indifference are other forms of interaction between actors. Far from being mutually exclusive categories, cooperation and competition can not only coexist but also interact. The modalities of such interaction appear ambiguous, as cooperation can either be intended to reduce the cross-border disparities which lead to competition between territories or, on the contrary, to preserve them within the framework of centre-periphery border regimes dominated by a competition logic. Beyond the official discourses, the purposes of cross-border integration and the sense of the cooperation which underlie it are far from self-evident.

3. Scales, territories, networks: towards multidimensional approaches to transborder regionalisation?

The spatial recompositions which have affected social, economic and political relations within the cross-border regions have to a large degree been understood using the concept of "rescaling", whether in terms of territorial restructuring (deterritorialisation, reterritorialisation) or through the articulation of different geographical scales. Despite the fact networks of actors play a determining role within the development of a multitude of cross-border institutional arrangements and discursive assemblages, little work has been done within the relational approach which seeks a reconceptualisation of the region as an open space structured by a variety of flows and relations. In view of this, the question is not whether the territorial/scalar approach should be replaced by a relational approach but rather how they can be combined in a way which goes beyond the inherent limits of uni-dimensional approaches. The emergence of cross-border regions is favourable to such an enterprise: first, the absence of a well-defined territory and the multiplicity of actors involved in the decision-making process favour a governance approach based on a system of flexible and negotiable political arrangements structured around collaborative networks which transcend administrative and political limits; second, the presence of a national border cannot be relegated to the level of a simple remnant of a past territorial order as even when open it remains a significant limit in terms of State territoriality. Ultimately, it is because the processes of debordering/rebordering bring into play different spatialities of the border that a critical re-examination of our conceptual approaches is required.

Keynote speakers will be present at the conference

We anticipate publication of a selection of papers in a book.

Scientific Committee

  • Dr. Amilhat-Szary Anne-Laure, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France
  • Prof. Brunet-Jailly Emmanuel, University of Victoria, Canada
  • Dr. Christopoulos Dimitris, University of the West of England, UK
  • Prof. Giffinger Rudolf, Vienna University of Technology, Austria
  • Prof. Giraut Frédéric, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Prof. Kesteloot Christian, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Dr. Koff Harlan, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Dr. Kramsch, Olivier, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Prof. O'Dowd Liam, Queens University Belfast, UK
  • Dr. Popescu Gabriel, Indiana University South Bend, USA
  • Prof. Reitel Bernard, Université d'Artois, France
  • Prof. Schulz Christian, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Prof. Scott James, Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland
  • Dr. Sohn Christophe, CEPS/INSTEAD, Luxembourg
  • Prof. van Houtum Henk, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Dr. van der Velde Martin, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Submission of a paper

If you wish to submit a paper for this conference, please write a one-page summary of your proposal describing briefly the objectives, the methodological approach and the main results of your research. Could you please also indicate to which of the three issues formulated in the call for paper your proposal is related to and explain how this is the case.

Each proposal should include the title of the presentation, the name of the author with his institutional affiliation along with detailed contact information.

The proposal has to be sent to

Abstracts will be blind peer reviewed based on the level of innovation and relevance with regard to topics exposed in the call.

The deadline for submission of paper proposals is March 15th, 2012

Notification of acceptance will be made May 1st, 2012

Full papers will have to be sent after the conference with a maximum of 20 000 signs.

Registration fees

The registration fee of the conference is 70 euros before June, 30th 2012 and 100 euros between July, 1st - August, 31th 2012. This includes the coffee breaks between the sessions and the lunch at noon. Registration for PhD students is free.

Organising committee

The preparation of the conference is carried out by
  • Dr. Christophe Sohn
  • Dr. Frédéric Durand
  • Dr. Olivier Walther
  • Dr. Jen Nelles
  • Mrs Carole Stefanuto at CEPS/INSTEAD in Luxembourg

If you have questions, please e-mail Frédéric Durand, at or call +352 58 58 55 307.

Travel to Luxembourg

By plane:
    Luxembourg Findel International Airport is the closest airport to Luxembourg City and it is located only 6 km east of Luxembourg (Information on Luxembourg Airport).

    Transfer from the airport to Novotel Hotel in Luxembourg City:

    Bus 16 Eurobus leaves the airport every 10-15 minutes to Luxembourg Station (Gare centrale). For the conference venue, please leave the bus at the Philharmonie/MUDAM bus stop. The bus ticket is 1.50 euros. More information on public transport.

    Taxis are available directly outside the main terminal. The rate between the airport and the conference venue is approximately 20 to 30 euros.

By train:
    Luxembourg is easily accessible by train from Paris (TGV, 2 hours), Brussels (3 hours), Basel (3.5 hours), or Cologne (3.5 hours). More information on train tickets and fares is available from the National Railway Company of Luxembourg CFL.

    Transfer from Luxembourg Central Station to Novotel Hotel:

    Bus 16 Eurobus leaves Luxembourg Central Station every 10-15 minutes to Luxembourg Kirchberg and Luxembourg Airport. For the conference venue, please leave the bus at the Philharmonie/MUDAM bus stop. The bus ticket is 1.50 euros.


All conference participants are required to make their own arrangements for accommodation during the conference days. We recommend bookings to be made as early as possible. A list of hotels is provided below:

Hotel Phone number Email Price Location
Melia +352 27333-1 *** 10 Rue Fort Thuengen
L-1499 Luxembourg Kirchberg
Coque Hotel +352 43 60 60 222 ** 2, rue Léon Hengen, Kirchberg
L-1745 Luxembourg Kirchberg
Hotel Vauban +352 22 04 93 ** 10, place Guillaume II
L-1648 Luxembourg Downtown
Hotel Simoncini +352 22 28 44 *** 6, rue Notre-Dame
L-2240 Luxembourg Downtown
City Hotel +352 29 11 22 *** 1 rue de Strasbourg, B.P. 2126
L-1021 Luxembourg Central Station
Hotel Parc Bellevue +352 45 61 411 **** 5, avenue Marie-Thérèse
L-2132 Luxembourg Downtown
Sofitel Luxembourg Europe +352 437761 **** 4, Rue du Fort Niedergrunewald
L-2015 Luxembourg Kirchberg
Hotel Le Châtelet +352 40 21 01 *** 2, Boulevard de la Pétrusse
L-2320 Luxembourg Central Station
Hotel-Restaurant Français +352 47 45 34 *** 14, place d'Armes
L-1136 Luxembourg Downtown
Hotel-Restaurant Italia +352 48 66 26 1 ** 15-17, rue d'Anvers
L-1130 Luxembourg Central Station
Hotel Christophe Colomb +352 408 41 41 MAIL@CHRISTOPHE-COLOMB.LU ** 10, rue d'Anvers
L-1130 Luxembourg Central Station
Grand Hotel Victor Hugo +352 2627440 *** 3-5 Av. Victor Hugo
L-1750 Luxembourg Downtown

General information

Official language:
The official language of the conference is English. No translation services are provided by the organisers. Apart from English, French, German and Luxembourgish are standards in Luxembourg and can be easily used in restaurants and public facilities.

Passport and visas:
Participants should contact the nearest embassy, consulate or travel agency for information about the passport and visa requirements from their country for entry into the Schengen Area. Visa applications in some countries have long processing times and it is strongly advised to submit applications as early as possible.

Local currency:
The monetary unit is euro. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere including taxi.

Food during the conference:
At the conference venue at Novotel Hotel

In Luxembourg the electrical voltage used is 220/230V.

General information on tourism and travel in Luxembourg is available on: (country) and (City).


Main conference venue:
The conference venue is Hotel Novotel Luxembourg Kirchberg, 6 rue Fort Niedergrünewald, L-2226 Luxembourg, Tel: (+352)42.98.481, E-mail: The Novotel Hotel is located in the Kirchberg areas, close to the European Union institutions and cultural facilities. A detailed map of the hotel is found here:
WIFI is available in the hotel (512 kb).

    By car:
    As you approach the city via A1(E29, E44) from the south, the east or the north or the west via A6(E25) or from the centre of town, follow signs (Plateau de)"Kirchberg" and "Quartier Européen Nord". Parking : Public indoor parking (paying) - Private outdoor parking (paying)

    By bus:
    Many buslines can reach the Novotel Hotel (line 1, 7, 12, 13, 16, 18), see the link below to choose the most appropriate busline.
    -> buslines

Conference dinner:
Am Tiirmschen (Luxemburgish restaurant) 39, rue de l'Eau L-1449 Luxembourg

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