Migration and the Point of Self-Determination

Social Theory and Practice (forthcoming)
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Many philosophers argue that the right of self-determination confers to states a right to exclude would-be migrants. Drawing on the case of anti-colonial struggles of the 20th century, I argue that self-determination should be thought of as fundamentally a claim against intergroup hierarchy. This means that self-determination only grants a right to exclude in cases where immigration poses a genuine oppressive threat. Cases involving immigration into wealthy and powerful states rarely meet this criterion, and so talk of self-determination as grounding a right to exclude in such cases is misguided.

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Mike Gadomski
Bryn Mawr College


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