Péter Balogh.
Péter Balogh.

Péter Balogh holds a PhD in Human Geography from Stockholm University (2014) and is currently a postdoc at the Institute for Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His main fields of interest are Border studies, Political geography, and Critical geopolitics. Through studying borders, spatial images and geographical narratives, Péter’s research revolves around the questions what kind of ideologies and narratives are (meant to be) binding various groups of people together, which actors produce such discourses, and with what goals and consequences. 


The border as heritage: a resource or a curse?

Borders, historical and present, are today often taken advantage of in various fields such as the tourism or heritage industry, or collective memory construction. Whereas processing our past and present is certainly necessary, I argue that the heritage function of borders cannot just be a resource but also a curse. In some cases, the cultivation of old borders can lead to their mental maintenance and even their physical re-emergence, as with territorial disputes and irredentist claims. More generally, the main challenge is how we understand past and present borders, what meanings we ascribe to them, what we include in the story and what we leave out. Take the Berlin Wall as an example. With the continued omnipresence of its remnants in the city’s streets and soul, it stands for a reunified Germany and Europe where the good has won over the evil. What is often masked by this grand narrative are the fates of many local residents and others who have been the losers of these changes – they somehow don’t fit into the picture. Yet the exclusion of these fates only serves to feed their bearers’ apathy and disconnection from their native communities. Stories of heritage therefore need not just to serve the interests of commerce or selected groups of people, but be as diverse as possible.

Full programme of the symposium "Heritage and Borders".