Navigating the “In-Between”: The Relationship be-tween Cross Border Mobility, Transnational Identity and the Creation of Integrated Cross Border Spaces

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The European Union has made many efforts to encourage and enable cross-border mobility among its member nations. In part, in order to improve cross-border integration. However, integration has not always been as successful on the local level as anticipated by the EU and policy makers. Individuals must overcome not only administrative barriers to mobility, but also mental barrier which create distance between and differentiate neighboring populations. This research attempts to understand the role of mobility in social integration processes, by asking “How does an individual’s cross-border (im)mobility shape their own transnational identity and what consequences does this have on the creation of socially integrated border regions?” A survey of residents in the Rhine-Waal border region and subsequent semi-structured interviewers were conducted in a mixed method approach. The study finds that while mobility alone cannot necessarily lead to social integration, it is a crucial process, in which residents are forced to reevaluate their own identity and interact with other cultures, particularly through the adoption of a second language. In culmination, mobility lays the groundwork for integration through the social interactions that it encourages.
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