A Mid-Way Ethics of Immigration. Nations, Diasporas, and Cultural Majorities

September 4, 2024 - September 6, 2024
The Manchester Centre for Political Theory, University of Manchester

Booth St W, M13 9NX
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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Luiss Guido Carli

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In recent treatment of the ethics of immigration the dichotomy between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ borders is fading. For instance, Luara Ferracioli argues that a “world where some restrictions and movement are employed by liberal states for the purpose of achieving social justice, and others are ruled out due to pressing moral considerations” is “more desirable” than a world with fully closed or fully open borders. Sarah Song claims that “we need a normative theory of immigration that takes seriously both the claims of political community and the claims of migrants.… Both sides have their rightful claims, and each side must make some accommodations in response to the claims of the other.” This workshop aims to explore these mid-way views of immigration and will include three panels on three topics.

First, the entitlements of diasporas. In many sociological views of migration, groups of migrants already settled in a country are among the factors driving migratory trends. Diasporas attract migrants and can favour or impair successful social integration. However, the political and moral relevance of diaspora groups for the ethics of immigration is rather undertheorised, even though some authors considered them in the light of an ideal of cosmopolitan or transnational citizenship. This panel helps to fill this gap by looking at issues of citizenship and naturalization of long-term resident immigrants who form diasporas. The following questions will be considered:

·      Are diasporas entitled to collective rights?

·      Are their members entitled to naturalization or citizenship?

·      Are prospective migrants belonging to diasporas entitled to priority in admission?

A second focus will be on the nature and relevance of nations and national identity in the context of migration ethics. This panel will address the following questions:

·      Are notions of ‘nation’ and ‘national identity’ settled and uncontroversial?

·      Are nations overlapping with citizenries in both the origin and the host countries?

·      Can diasporas also be understood as cultural groups or even as nations?

·      And, if so, what are the limits of liberal states’ rights to exclude prospective migrants from these cultural groups or nations?

·      Does a nationalist approach necessarily lead to a right to exclude?

The final panel focuses on cultural majorities. Liav Orgad and Ruud Koopmans argue that majorities have ‘a right’ to their culture just as cultural minorities do and this right requires immigrants to accept ‘the particularity’ of their new society. David Miller defends the expectation that immigrants should ‘culturally integrate’ and that it is permissible for democracies to restrict immigration to protect a majority culture. This panel will explore the following questions:

·      What are cultural majorities? Can they be sufficiently distinguished from other citizens in a polity to plausibly claim that they have ‘majority rights’?

·      Are there liberal or democratic limits to the extent to which a majority’s concerns about immigration can be met? If so, how do we identify these limits?

·      Are there more inclusive ways to reduce the concerns of majority groups than have previously been canvassed?

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