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Keywords:

  • Europeanization;
  • EU Accession;
  • Transnationalism;
  • Border Regions;
  • Ethnicity

As the European Union (EU) expanded eastward in 2004, it explicitly sought to deterritorialize its internal border regions in an effort to create a transnational “European” space. Utilizing the twin border cities of Stubice, Poland and Frankfurt an-der-Oder, Germany, as an ethnographic case study, this essay examines the historical construction of ethnicity in the Polish/German border regions, the way processes of Europeanization and emergent transnational “European” identities interact with existing ethnic structures through crossborder interactions, and the ways in which advertising during Poland's 2003 EU accession campaign made claims about the meaning of “Europe.” Because border regions are a location of especially high transnational contact and interaction, they are a particularly salient context in which to examine the production of meaning engendered by the EU's expansion. To this end, this essay argues that the processes of Europeanization can both create new possibilities for expressing identity and simultaneously reinforce ethnic and national divisions.