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Comedian Doug Stanhope once commented that “Nationalism does nothing but teach you how to hate people that you never met, and ... take pride in accomplishments you had no part in whatsoever”. In this course we'll examine the philosophical issues underpinning the ethics and politics of nationalism and cosmopolitanism, and their impact on individuals' freedom of movement and association across borders. We'll look at the case for a state's right to control its borders and immigration policy, including the value of preserving a national culture, language, and way of life, and citizens' rights to associate (or refuse to associate) with whoever they choose. We'll look at the case for outsiders being granted entry, including the value of assisting desperate refugees and asylum-seekers, and the importance of states' fairly sharing in the global resettlement of future climate refugees. We'll also consider the ‘right of necessity’: whether those denied resettlement would be morally permitted to claim it by force, were we to persist in denying them entry.
Intended learning outcomes
Students that successfully complete this subject should:
- gain a sound general comprehension of the major recent advances in political and ethical theorizing about immigration;
- demonstrate an ability to evaluate key texts on which these advances are based;
- learn to analyse arguments, distinguish between key concepts, critique existing work, deploy reasons to greatest effect, and create new and compelling arguments;
- gain experience in deploying the methods of critical analysis and argument employed in political philosophy; receive feedback and understand how to apply it to improve writing; both leading to improved general reasoning and the building of strong transferrable analytical skills.
Last updated: 4 June 2022