Public Seminar | Immigration, Integration and Citizenship: Elements of a New Political Demography

02-12-2021 from 13:00 to 14:30
Online (MS Teams)

The paper offers a critical review of the state-of-the-art in migration studies. It centres on a contrast between established comparative scholarship — elaborating progressive models of immigration, integration and citizenship, that reflect the increasingly diverse, migrant-built societies of the North Atlantic West — and a new generation of work in the last decade, influenced by critical, anti-racist and decolonial theory, that vehemently rejects this “Eurocentric” liberal democratic global order and selfimage. My reading establishes a bridge between older neo-Weberian approaches to immigration and sovereign nation-state building and newer (or revived) Marxist-Foucauldian accounts. These accent the state-power building effects of bordering, managing and cultivating “diverse” national populations, and its ongoing governmental categorisation of migration and mobilities, citizens and aliens, majorities and minorities, as a key feature of neo-liberal “racial capitalism”. It develops these theoretical resources in relation to a discussion of wanted and unwanted migration in advanced liberal democratic economies, “visible” forms of immigration versus “middling” forms of everyday cross-border mobility, and the limits of humanitarian arguments for open borders and expansive asylum rights. The paper sketches an alternate politics to the self-legitimating “political demography” of liberal democracy, relating the ongoing colonial power of its dominant ideas of immigration, integration and citizenship, to the preservation of massive global inequalities between “the West and the Rest”.

About the speaker
Prof. Adrian Favell is a chair in sociology and social theory, and director of the Bauman Institute at the University of Leeds. He identifies as an interdisciplinary sociologist with a background in human geography, political science, political philosophy and comparative literature. He has written extensively about immigration policy. His new book 'The Integration Nation' offers a seminal critique of the concept of ‘integration’, and is coming out in February 2022.

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