chapter  1
11 Pages

The debate on migration in Europe and beyond

WithRaffaele Marchetti

Political boundaries are increasingly under pressure. As a consequence of the global transformations that are changing the international system, the criteria for determining inclusion in or exclusion from new political constituencies are under revision. At the national level, external migratory pressure coupled with domestic political dynamics is generating an intense debate on the legitimacy of keeping migrants out of national political life. Migration, alongside related policies regarding the admission of aliens into political communities, is increasingly recognised as a key issue of both political agendas and academic debates. As a political issue, migration is at the centre of a controversy where proponents of more open policies argue against tight border controls on multiple grounds. Economic theses are frequently mixed with cultural, political, legal, or security arguments. Pragmatic approaches are often entangled with ideological stances, idealistic attitudes, or racist positions. All of this contributes to creating a burning situation that not only heats up political debates, but sometimes also descends to the streets. As a theoretical issue, migration is equally controversial, for it intersects with a core node of political theory, namely the notion of citizenship. According to liberalism, individuals are entitled to a set of rights including the right to mobility, and yet this right is constrained by an equally recognised right to collective self-determination and national autonomy. This tension is more and more problematic in a world in which individual human rights are on the rise and state sovereignty is in decline in many respects –with the precise exception of the issue of immigration.