In this article, I investigate the extent to which cross-border mobilities during childhood and youth shape practical relations to the state. To do so, I draw on the narratives of adults who grew up in Northern France at different periods. I begin by describing the space of Franco-Belgian cross-border practices and its historical transformations. This enables me to identify how generation, social background and family structure lead individuals to adopt different cross-border practices. I then show how customs, legislation, taxation, prices and specialised shops constitute a system of symbolic and material signs through which young people learn about the varying forms adopted by state institutions in the vicinity of borders at different times. While the material presence of institutions diminishes over time, the reality of the state is recalled in various ways and sometimes clashes with the illusions nourished by everyday practices, particularly when it comes to considering longer-term migration. Finally, the article shows that while cross-border mobility may in some cases make people forget about the state’s role in controlling movements, it cannot in itself endow individuals with a transnational habitus. In fact, young people born near borders grow up less without borders than with the border.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Growing up on borders, growing up without borders? The socializing effects of transborder mobility
|Number of pages
|Espaces et Sociétés
|Published - 1 Jan 2022