Stretching the Border: Shopping, Petty Trade and Everyday Life Experiences in the Polish–Ukrainian Borderland


This article examines the practices and experiences of Ukrainian border crossers who are engaged in informal small‐scale economic practices, namely shopping and petty trade, at the Medyka border crossing in Poland. By examining the societal, network and territorial embeddedness of the economic activities of these border crossers, we aim to shed light on the practices and experiences that form part of their daily lives. For many, the presence of the state border has become a resource for shopping and petty trade. People share a common purpose of making the most of their border crossing; they work together to plan and coordinate, or improvise and semi‐plan, in the borderland and beyond, to supplement their income or to make a living. As a result, daily life for these border crossers occurs on both sides of the state border, ‘stretching’ the border in both a mental and a physical sense, despite the controlled institutional demarcation between Poland and Ukraine.