2011 | 21 | 2 | 196-212
Article title

Social identities, societal change and mental borders

Title variants
Languages of publication
In this paper we investigate the relations between cross-border mobility, national categorization and intergroup relations in a changing Europe. It focuses on young adults (N=34) commuting on a regular basis between the city of Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia) and the city of Vienna (the capital of Austria). Our study draws on the social identity perspective, however, we consider social identity as a discourse of (not) belonging, similarity and difference, which is continually (re)negotiated within a given social context. Semi-structured qualitative interviews, focus groups and drawings of the border area were used as research instruments. We have identified different types of experience in various subgroups of participants framed by (1) age at the time of arrival in Austria; (2) different mobility motivations and goals; (3) interaction setting; (4) the political and economic situation in Slovakia at the time of arrival to Austria linked to perceived status differences. On the individual level, the motivation to integrate or its lack seems to be a crucial element in the ingroup construction and perception of intergroup relations.
Physical description
  • Slovak Academy of Sciences
  • [1] Abell, J., Condor, S., Stephenson, C. (2006). “We are an Island”: Geographical Imagery in Accounts of Citizenship, Civil Society, and National Identity in Scotland and in England. Political Psychology 27, 207–226.[Crossref]
  • [2] Abrams, D., Hogg, M. A. (2004). Metatheory: Lessons from Social Identity Research. Personality and Social Psychology Review 8, 98–106.[Crossref]
  • [3] Berry, J.W. (2001). A Psychology of Immigration. Journal of Social Issues 57, 615–631.[Crossref]
  • [4] Falťan, Ľ. (Ed.). (2003). Mentálna hranica. Obraz suseda v slovensko-rakúskom pohraničí. Bratislava: SÚ SAV.
  • [5] Flick, U. (2002). An Introduction to Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
  • [6] Galasińska, A., Galasiński, D. (2003). Discursive Strategies for Coping with Sensitive Topics of the Other. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 29, No. 5, 849–863.[Crossref]
  • [7] Hopkins, N., Dixon, J. A. (2006). Space, Place and Identity: Issues for Political Psychology. Political Psychology 27, 157–170.[Crossref]
  • [8] Lášticová, B., Petrjánošová, M. (2005). Straty a nálezy. Práca s identitou v pološtruktúrovanom interview o identite. In M. Miovský, I. Čermák, V. Chrz (Eds.). Kvalitativní přítup ve vědách o člověku IV. Vybrané aspekty teorie a praxe, pp. 141–153. Olomouc: Filozofická fakulta Univerzity Palackého.
  • [9] Lášticová, B., Petrjánošová, M., Bianchi, G. (2007). Cezhraničný región: realita alebo ilúzia? Prípad slovensko-rakúskeho pohraničia. In Z. Beňušková, O. Danglová (Eds.). Trendy regionálneho a miestneho rozvoja na Slovensku, pp. 77–92. Bratislava; Nitra: Ústav etnológie SAV, Centrum pre európsku politiku, Katedra etnológie a etnomuzikológie UKF.
  • [10] Meinhof, U. (Ed.). (2002). Living (with) Borders. Identity Discourses on East-West Borders in Europe. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • [11] Schrastetter, J., Schaller, S., Herzánová, Ľ. (2005). Žité susedstvo v hraničných regiónoch Bratislavský kraj / Trnavský kraj - Dolné Rakúsko Wien: Österreichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik, BA: Ústav etnológie SAV, downloaded on May, 15, 2007 from
  • [12] Spannring, R. Wächter, N., Datler, G., Bianchi, G., Lášticová, B., Petrjánošová, M. (2005). Neue Gemeinschaften-neue Identitäten? Eine Studie zu territorialen Identitäten Jugendlicher in der österreichisch-slowakischen Grenzregion. Unpublished Final Report from the Austrian National Bank Funded Project N. 10690. Wien: OEIJ.
  • [13] Tajfel, H., Turner, J. C. (1986). The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior. In S. Worchel and W. G. Austin (Eds.). Psychology of Intergroup Relations, pp. 7–24. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
  • [14] Wodak, R., de Cillia, R., Reisigl, M., Liebhart, K. (2009). The Discursive Construction of National Identity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.