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Conference Proceeding

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Political science -- Philosophy, Emigration and immigration -- Political aspects, Distributive justice, Transnationalism


Political theorists of migration have largely operated within a conceptual scheme that treats the nation-state as the natural political unit for analysis at the expense of transnational, regional, and local analyses. Migration is discussed in the contexts of nation-building or in an international framework of autonomous, sovereign states. I show that this paradigm of “methodological nationalism” ignores transnational networks, associations, and organizations and global social and economic structures. This in turn, blinds political theorists to questions of agency and structure and to causal relations that entail moral responsibilities. My aim is to show how debates on migration and distributive justice have been marred by methodological nationalist assumptions and how a more adequate account can be constructed by incorporating insights from transnational and global studies.


Paper prepared for the American Political Science Association Annual Conference Chicago, IL, Aug 29-Sept 1 2013 “Migration and Political Theory” poster group, August 29 2013.

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