New civic neighborhood (2013)
University of Eastern Finland
This study examines the actual and potential role of Finnish civil society organizations in developing new forms of cross-border cooperation with Russia. It puts forth the concept of civic neighborhood as a bottom-up alternative to the official notion of ‘EUropean’ Neighborhood.
As the period to be analyzed begins with the collapse of the Soviet Union, it covers the era during which Finnish-Russian bilateral relations became a part of broader EU-Russia relations. The formation of civic neighborhood is studied on the basis of two major empirical primary datasets, of which one consists of interviews and another one of published newspaper materials. The two datasets provide different, yet mutually complementary perspectives on the phenomenon under study. It is vital to study both perspectives as perceptions, since images of the other and discursive relations are not mere results of cooperation practices but also – and more importantly – their prerequisites.