25/11/2015: Political Theory Seminar “Neorepublicanism, Old Imperialism, and Migration Ethics” by Matthew Hoye

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Date(s) - 25/11/15
4:30 pm - 6:15 pm

Grote Gracht 80-82, Spiegelzaal (Soiron Building) Maastricht


 Neorepublicanism, Old Imperialism, and Migration Ethics

Matthew Hoye (FASoS/Philosophy)

Migration and Citizenship Theory Seminar (MICITS) organised in cooperation with the Maastricht Centre for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE)

Abstract: Neorepublican scholarship is shifting from the realm of historical excavation and analytical philosophy to the realm of practice, sometimes with disappointing results. Neorepublican accounts of migration ethics are exemplary of these disappointments. This is unexpected, as the norm of non-domination intuitively seems to be a more powerful normative framework than the liberal and democratic alternatives. Why, then, do neorepublican critiques seem to fall flat? The problems, we argue, stem from the particular conjunction of methodological and theoretical presuppositions that presently define applied neorepublicanism. This framework conspires to skew the analysis of the problem of migration ethics, and in turn the outline of applicable normative critique. For two reasons. First, having privileged the republican idea of freedom scholars elide the historical role of republican imperialism that inform present dilemmas. Second, neorepublicans, having won an internal debate between civic and communitarianism, now inherently foreclose accounts of the communal practices of domination-resistance at the border. In this paper we flip the reflective-equilibrium’s order of operations. Focusing on the Mexican-American border, we outline a critical republican account of the history of the border. Following which we consider how domination at the border is manifest and addressed in practice. It is argued that not only does neorepublicanism fail to provide a powerful normative critique of migration ethics; it lends ideological fodder to those who aim to increase arbitrary domination at the border. We further argue that although neorepublicanism presently does not lend itself to the forces of non-domination at the border, it may. We consider two alternative (neo)republican normative critiques of migration ethics: an embrace of imperial superdiversity and a reconsideration of communitarian migrant support. We conclude by considering the wider applicability of the argument.

Read more about the Migration and Citizenship Theory Seminars (MICITS).