Summer 2018 (32.2) Essay

Borders of Class: Migration and Citizenship in the Capitalist State

Abstract: In many recent debates on the political theory of immigration, conflicts between immigrants and citizens of host societies are explored along identity lines. In this paper, I defend the relevance of social class. I focus on two types of conflict—distributive and cultural—and show how class boundaries play a crucial role in each. In contrast to both defenders and critics of freedom of movement, I argue that borders have always been (and will continue to be) open for some and closed for others. The same applies to barriers on integration and civic participation. It is time to revive the connection between immigration and social class and to start carving political solutions that begin with the recognition of class injustice as a fundamental democratic concern.

Keywords: migration, justice, capitalism, citizenship, social class

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