The project “In the Mirror of the European Neighbourhood (Policy): Mapping Macro-Regional Imaginations” (IMAGEUN) is financed by the French National Research Agency, Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR), and the German Research Foundation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) as part of the ANR-DFG Funding Programme for the Humanities and Social Sciences for the time period 2020-2024.
The project is a cooperation of thematically and conceptually heterogeneous researchers from France, Germany, Turkey, Tunisia, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Most of the researchers involved in IMAGEUN broadly situate themselves in the field of political geography, however, their national and theoretical thought traditions differ substantially. And while there is a temptation to express those differences through binary categories: structuralism vs. post-structuralism, pragmatic vs. critical approaches, quantitative vs. qualitative methods, etc., IMAGEUN seeks to bridge these gaps and to benefit from the opportunity to integrate different concepts, tools and methods. The shared interest in processes of macro-regionalization, in the socio-spatial shape of the EU and the relations with its “neighbours” and, more generally, in geographical imaginations constitutes fertile ground for such integration.
What is more, a common point is the rejection of a single definition or concept as regards geographical imaginations of a macro-regional object like “Europe”. Different concepts, tools and methods will inevitably produce different definitions of a macro-region in semantic and spatial terms. The objective to integrate complementary structural and critical approaches of political geography has been a key motivation for this project. Taking the shared empirical interest of the involved researchers as an entry point, IMAGEUN combines humanistic and positivistic orientations, quantitative and qualitative methods, statistical and interpretative analysis, cartographical interactive, visual and written presentation of research results. This cooperation is envisioned not least as a step into the direction of a decidedly “European” political geography within the discipline of geography but also open to develop links with researcher from other disciplines (historians, political scientists, sociologists, lawyers, etc.) sharing a common interest for European and Global Studies.