Joseph Carens develops one of the most prominent cases for open borders in the academic literature on the basis of freedom and equality. Yet the implementation of his social membership theory would mean that immigrants who have not yet lived in a country long enough to become members would be excluded from political and social rights, thus raising the possibility of their domination and subordination by citizens. Given that these problems arise because Carens aims to balance the freedom of individuals with the “claims of belonging” to a political community, can we theorize the relationship between freedom and community differently? French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy does just that, by showing how to think freedom and community as mutually constitutive. Nancy thus offers the resources for an alternative case for open borders, grounded on the claim that the freedom of community entails openness to the outside. Drawing also on Nancy’s account of the common and of democratic politics, my Nancean argument for open borders challenges Carens’s exclusion of nonmembers from the rights of citizens, emphasizing instead the need for an ongoing political struggle to expand who is eligible to claim rights as well as the scope of the rights themselves.
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DOI 10.1177/1755088219859919
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Is There a Right to Immigrate?Michael Huemer - 2010 - Social Theory and Practice 36 (3):429-461.
Government, Rights and Legitimacy: Foucault and Liberal Political Normativity.Paul Patton - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory 15 (2):223-239.

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