Episode 5: Living Border

How Everyday Life along the German-Polish Border has Changed

Vivien Sommer of IRS (now TU Berlin) and Łukasz Rogowski of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań from Poznan work together on a joint research project which traces the changes in everyday life along the border between Poland and the German state of Brandenburg since the border was first opened in 2007. They lived temporarily in towns and villages along the river, took walks with the locals and collected observations, pictures, and video diaries of residents. In this episode they talk about their insights and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the border region.


  • 02:00 Let’s talk about borders (and why social scientists are interested in them)
  • 08:19 What is special about the German-Polish border?
  • 12:07 The De-Re-Bord project: Understanding life “in between”
  • 20:36 Villages and towns along the Oder river: Not quite as connected as you’d think
  • 28:47 Smartphones and videos
  • 35:43 Cross-border integration: surprisingly fragile
  • 39:34 Coronavirus and the border: How much influence do locals have in times of crisis?
  • 50:14 Environmental border relations will be a key matter in the future