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School of Law

SOLM173 Ethics of Migration and Asylum

Module Description

This module introduces the main philosophical and ethical debates concerning border control, citizenship, migration and refugee/asylum-seeker status. It sets out the arguments for and against ‘open borders’, the political theory of citizenship and the nation state, and the relationships between citizens’ rights and universal human rights. As well as matters of general philosophical principle, we will look at the ethics of border control practices, from identity cards and entry controls to surveillance and access to public services, detention, criminalisation of migration, including humanitarian assistance, and repatriation. As appropriate we will consider these issues in national, regional and international context, considering debates about the ‘border wall’ between the US and Mexico, Australian policy involving placements of migrants in third party countries including Nauru and Papua New Guinea, the rights of EU-member state citizens in the UK following Brexit and other issues as they arise. We will also consider the cultural dimensions of migration control, in particular the relationship between discourses of security, citizenship, and race/ethnicity/cultural difference. Finally, the ethics of expert witnessing in the immigration and asylum field will also be analysed.

Applicable Groupings


15 Credits

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