chapter  2
18 Pages

Citizenship and the marginalities of migrants

ByDavid Owen

What is owed to migrants by receiving states, and what do migrants owe to these states? This question occupies an increasingly central place in debates within political theory. However, addressing this question requires at least two fundamental methodological choices.1 The first concerns how much, if any, of the normative structure of the current political order one chooses to treat as background conditions for the purposes of the enquiry. The second concerns the normative orientation adopted, that is, for example, whether one chooses to work within the terms of a specific theory of justice or of

freedom or, alternatively, adopts a more catholic approach. These choices are related in that the degree to which one builds features of the existing normative architecture of politics into one’s account has implications for how much appeal one can make to, for example, widely held democratic norms (norms which, typically, can be supported on a variety of different theoretical grounds and, hence, the adoption of which need not require one to commit oneself to a specific theory). It is important to be explicit about these choices for two reasons. The first is that they specify what the argument is – and is not – committed to doing. The second is that it helps to clarify the advantages and limitations of the approach adopted. For these reasons, I will introduce the argument of this article by situating it in relation to these choices before laying out its structure.