A Philosophical view on states and immigration

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Migration is part of the human condition and is a fundamental fact with which political theory must contend. Where economic or other gradients are sufficiently strong, they create what is essentially an irresistible force for migration. In such cases democratic states tend to find it impossible to stop illegal immigration, if legal immigration is limited. Yet contemporary political theory debates immigration in terms of ideas which prescind from these realities, and which moreover are not always interpreted correctly in their implications for immigration. Three such ‘immovable ideas’ – sovereignty, democracy, and nationality – are explored in this chapter. I do not pretend here to offer a comprehensive approach to immigration in normative terms, but rather survey grounds for scepticism about the way these three values are commonly invoked in relation to immigration. Before turning to these normative considerations, the remainder of this introduction elaborates on the sense in which migration may count as an ‘irresistible force’, one which both precedes and in crucial respects supersedes modern states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGlobalizing Migration Regimes
Subtitle of host publicationNew Challenges to Transnational Cooperation
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781317126829
ISBN (Print)9780754646921
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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