2015 | 1(31/2) | 143-158
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Multiculturalism in a transnational regional community: EU subsidies and cultural heritage in southeast Poland

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The Bieszczady region of southeast Poland contains many traces of former multiethnic communities, and the transnational forces that destroyed them. With increasing frequency, the European Union logo marks EU involvement in cultural heritage projects throughout the region. In this article, I explore the interconnections among ethnicity, culture, and politics revealed in the ways Bieszczady residents make use of EU subsidies designated for the promotion of regional cultures. I argue that local agents cater to a vision of multiculturalism that bolsters EU values of cross‑border cooperation and tolerance for diversity, but they do so in pursuit of regional goals. Ethnographic examples show they want to increase regional pride and promote development of the regional tourist sector so that residents will feel less compelled to emigrate in search of employment. Although “transnational regional community” sounds like an oxymoron, it is an apt characterization of the Bieszczady region (and by extension other borderlands of the EU) because the transnational institution of the European Union provides the context in which particular kinds of regional identities become salient, albeit in multiple and fragmented ways.
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