The Vega Symposium

The Vega Day 2021

Date: Friday 17 September 2021, 09.00–12.30.

Venue: Live streaming and Grand Hôtel, Stockholm.

Movie from the Vega Symposium 2021

Bounded Spaces in Question: X-raying the Persistence of Regions and Territories

The 2021 Vega Symposium honours Anssi Paasi, professor at the University of Oulu, recipient of SSAG’s Vega Medal 2021, for his profound contributions to human geography, especially political geography. The symposium will explore the conceptual and empirical meanings of territories and regions, and will problematize borders as material and ideological tools, processes and symbols in region/territory and identity building. Speakers will address questions such as: How can we best make sense of the contemporary functions and the perpetual appeal of regions and territories? What will be the future of such units in the ever more dynamic world? How to best theorize territories, borders/bordering, and their contextual character? What can geography do to promote compassion and ethics inside and across borders? The symposium instigates from the fact that the geography of regions and territories is always also political geography. This seems to hold true whether we talk about the conceptualization of regions and regionalism, or the practices of regional planning and policy.

Programme

09.00 Opening of the Vega Symposium. Associate Professor Thomas Borén, Presi-dent SSAG.

09.05 Introduction. Associate Professor Madeleine Bonow, Södertörn University, Moderator of the Symposium.

09.15 Examining the persistence of bounded spaces: Remarks on the progress of border studies and the practices of bordering. Professor Anssi Paasi, University of Oulu, Finland.

10.00 Taking territory seriously in a fluid, topologically varied world: Reflections in the wake of the populist turn and the Covid-19 pandemic. Professor Alexander B. Murphy, University of Oregon, USA.

10.30 Coffee

11.00 Borders as time-spaces of authority: The regulation of cross-border movements and rights. Dr. Linn Axelsson, Stockholm University.

11.30 For a new new regional geography: Structure, agency, and more-than-relational regionality. Professor Martin Jones, Staffordshire University, UK.

12.00 Discussion

12.30 Closing of the Symposium.

Most welcome!

Synopsis

Regions and territories become institutionalized at various scales as part of wider geohistorical practices and discourses, through which spatial entities accomplish their borders, institutions, and symbolisms, and attain (often contested) identity narratives. Borders are mobilized to organize social spaces and to structure social life at various scales, from local daily life to regions and states, from supra-state units to global geopolitical spaces. Correspondingly, the functions and meanings of borders and bordering vary. Geographers have questioned for decades the self-explanatory nature of regional borders. Doubts were raised in regional geography, in spatial science’s interpretations of functional regions as open systems, and more recently in relational thinking on regions. Regional borders are perpetually on the agenda in the debates on spatial governance, planning and hard/soft spaces, for example. Similarly, state borders have been challenged by all kinds of flows and networks, and geographers have criticized the taken-for-granted divide between inside and outside, the territorial trap and methodological nationalism. Yet, state borders have been hardening since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US. New technical landscapes of control, associated with security discourses, overlap with symbolic/emotional landscapes of control based on spatial socialization, identities and memory. State borders reverberate today with nationalism, anti-immigration discourses, and racism, features that make evident the violence that is embedded in borders and bordering. Currently expanding critical border studies, reflecting relational and topological thinking, highlight both spatial and temporal dimensions of bordering. Social movements such as Open borders/No borders have raised issues with the ethics of bordering. And yet, the allure of territorial spaces appears to remain, as displayed by the rise of (ethno-)nationalism, autocracy, and the ongoing erection of border walls. Today 6 out of 10 people worldwide live in a state with one of the nearly 80 existing walls.

This symposium will explore the conceptual and empirical meanings of territories and regions, and will problematize borders as material and ideological tools, processes and symbols in region/territory and identity building. Speakers will address questions such as: How can we best make sense of the contemporary functions and the perpetual appeal of regions and territories? What will be the future of such units in the ever more dynamic world? How to best theorize territories, borders/bordering, and their contextual character? What can geography do to promote compassion and ethics inside and across borders? The symposium instigates from the fact that the geography of regions and territories is always also political geography. This seems to hold true whether we talk about the conceptualization of regions and regionalism, or the practices of regional planning and policy.

Poster 2021 (pdf)

The Vega Day 2020

The 2020 Vega Symposium was cancelled due to the developments regarding the coronavirus and Covid-19.

Poster 2020 (pdf)

The Vega Day 2019

Poster 2019 (pdf)
Movie from the Vega Symposium 2019
Pictures from the Vega Day 2019
Professor Emily Martin receives SSAG’s Medal in Gold from the patron of the Society, His Majesty the King of Sweden (Swedish Royal Court)

The Vega Day 2018

Invitation 2018 (pdf)
Poster 2018 (pdf)
Movie from the Vega Symposium 2018
Pictures from the Vega Day 2018

The Vega Day 2017

Invitation 2017 (pdf)
Poster 2017 (pdf)
Movie from the Vega Day 2017
Pictures from the Vega Day 2017
Chinese scientist Yao Tandong receives 2017 Vega Medal in Stockholm (Xinhuanet, Xinhua News Agency)
Chinese scientist Yao Tandong receives 2017 Vega Medal in Stockholm (China Global Television Network, CGTN)
Kungen delade ut Vegamedaljen (Swedish Royal Court)

The Vega Day 2016

Invitation (pdf)
Movie from the Vega Day 2016
Movie of when His Majesty the King hands out SSAG’s medal in gold 2016
Pictures from the Vega Day 2016

The Vega Day 2015

Movie from the Vega Day 2015
Pictures from the Vega Day 2015