Living without the notion of borders had been self-evident in Europe for hundreds of years. Passports, as we know them today, were introduced in 1920 and meant to be dismissed later. At the time, borders separated cultural, linguistic, religious or geographical spaces but they were never political. In contrast, we perceive national borders as normal in the modern world – just like the fact that some people need a visa to travel to other countries, while others do not. As the last year has shown: Nationalism, accompanied by a desire to recreate and control borders, is still widespread. Nevertheless, states, such as passports, are a construct. We are all tempted to link our cultures to states. However, border regions such as Alsace demonstrate that cultural and national borders are not necessarily congruent.
In conversation with 42, developmental psychologist Ulrich Schmidt-Denter explains that psychological stability correlates positively with social identification and national pride. However, these psychological and social factors become problematic if the construct of the nation is glorified and misused with the objective to isolate nations from each other. This phenomenon also emerges in the context of the New Right, the so-called ‘Identitarian’ movement, as political scientist Gudrun Hentges elaborates on the movement’s ideological background. If nation-states are mere constructs, are there no other models to be developed, determining new ways in which we live together in democracies? Ulrike Guérot, professor of European politics, illustrates alternative visions to the nation-state in the last of ten interviews in this second issue of 42 Magazine.
Since the active exchange of ideas across borders is of particular importance to us, we are happy to see the international team of 42 Magazine constantly growing. With the launch of the second issue, we are also proud to introduce two new features: We are convinced that online journalism has to be paid for: At the same time, we want to keep 42 accessible to everyone. Therefore, we decided to introduce a new payment model: “Pay what you want”. Every reader of 42 only has to pay as much as they want, or can afford. Furthermore, as we wish to offer you a visual treat, from now on, every issue will be published in cooperation with one artist. In this issue, we are honoured to introduce you to photographer Hiro Matsuoka, our first artist to contribute a photographic series to 42.