Refugees, nationalism, and political membership

Nordicum-Mediterraneum. 2012;7(3):B4


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Nordicum-Mediterraneum

ISSN: 1670-6242 (Online)

Publisher: University of Akureyri

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Geography (General)

Country of publisher: Iceland

Language of fulltext: Italian, Icelandic, French, English

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Signe Larsen


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This essay aims to understand how refugees present a problem for liberal nation-states. The point of departure is Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism where she argues that the continual existence of refugees within liberal nation-states threatens to break down the principle of equality before the law thereby enabling the rise of police-states and totalitarianism. In light of this diagnosis, three of Arendt’s philosophical heirs—Giorgio Agamben, Seyla Benhabib and Peg Birmingham—argue that it is necessary to think political membership in different and broader terms than national citizenship if we are to avoid a new rise of totalitarianism.