A Look across the River at Frankfurt- Oder and Its Inhabitants: Stereotypes and Liking in the Polish-German Divided Town in View of Social Geography

Marcin Dębicki, Wojciech Doliński


In this article, we deal with the specifics of the Polish-German borderland based on the example of Słubice and Frankfurt-Oder. Both Germany’s position in Europe as well as Poland’s geopolitical orientation after 1989 have had an impact on the shape of social relations in the borderland under question. In this article, we apply selected categories from the scope of social geography together with an analysis of sociological empirical results. We conclude that experiencing the space as well as the valorization of German urban and natural elements – both typical of the humanistic coefficient – coexist with the competences of the residents of Słubice: that of communication (using the German language) and interaction (having German friends). In divided towns, opinions about neighbours are hard to modify under the influence of the events taking place far away from the immediate neighbourhood. This has to do with “borderland effect”, i.e. more frequent and more intensive contacts with the neighbours from across the river. Frankfurters are characterized by the residents of Słubice as “punctual”, “complying with regulations”, “outgoing” and “sociable”. Liking (generally speaking) of Germans coexists here with such categories of experiencing, important for social geographers, as space, a piece of land, natural landscape, urban landscape, bridge, border, river’s width, type of banks, distance between the developed land and the river itself, distance from the state border to particularly attractive sites (e.g. the Old Town, bars and restaurants), and the aesthetics of the surrounding.

Klíčová slova

Słubice; Frankfurt-Oder; Polish-German borderland; stereotypes; liking; social geography

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