Centre of Excellence in Research on the Relational and Territorial politics of Bordering, Identities and Transnationalization (RELATE)

The RELATE CoE asks how scale, borders and territories are accomplishments through particular socio-spatial practices in the current world. Through a range of empirical projects global in scope (Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia), the CoE aims to develop novel approaches to study the spatial-practices of mobility, bordering, and territorialization through 4 themes: (1) Changing state spaces; (2) Spatial socialization/subjectification; (3) Border crossings; and (4) Bordering, control and security in a mobile, borderless world. The CoE will provide academic leadership on issues related to territory/borders, security, and mobility through a host of interlinked high-calibre projects.


Territories and the processes of bordering are historically contingent features that depend on the complex mix of authority, territoriality and transnational processes. Similarly, some forms of border crossing (tourism) are much more frictionless than others (immigration, asylum seeking), but this does not mean that such mobility is non-problematic in social terms. The RELATE CoE investigates and conceptualizes the simultaneous existence of territorial and relational processes. The constitutive powers of borders and identities have become increasingly complex and multi-scalar and it is thus crucial to move beyond the territorial/relational dichotomy to make sense of this complexity.


Through both drawing from and developing further socio-spatial theorizing on borders, the CoE contributes theoretically and empirically to the pivotal social scientific issues of contemporary world: globalization, global governance and the transformation of borders.

Funding source

Academy of Finland

Contact persons

Jouni Häkli    professor, principal investigator    

jouni.hakli [at]   

+358 40 197 3664