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The Ethics and Politics of Asylum

The Ethics and Politics of Asylum
Liberal Democracy and the Response to Refugees

  • Date Published: September 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521009379


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About the Authors
  • Asylum has become a highly charged political issue across developed countries, raising a host of difficult ethical and political questions. What responsibilities do the world's richest countries have to refugees arriving at their borders? Are states justified in implementing measures to prevent the arrival of economic migrants if they also block entry for refugees? Is it legitimate to curtail the rights of asylum seekers to maximize the number of refugees receiving protection overall? This book draws upon political and ethical theory and an examination of the experiences of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia to consider how to respond to the challenges of asylum. In addition to explaining why asylum has emerged as such a key political issue in recent years, it provides a compelling account of how states could move towards implementing morally defensible responses to refugees.

    • A book-length treatment of the issue of responses to refugees that engages systematically with ethics and politics
    • The issue of asylum is extremely topical and important in Western states
    • An accessible book that will appeal to many disciplines beyond political science
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is the only book length study available of the ethics of asylum. Gibney's book weaves together theory and practice, combining a detailed empirical account of asylum policies in four countries with a sophisticated normative analysis. It is intelligent, perceptive, and lucidly written. Anyone interested in questions about refugees should read this book.' Joseph H. Carens, University of Toronto

    'In this courageous work, Gibney undertakes a lucid critique of prescriptive theories regarding the obligations of liberal democracies to asylum-seekers and subjects their current practices to an unsparing examination. Far from academic exercises, these are the elements of a compelling this-worldly humanitarian approach that imposes itself to the attention of policy-makers and concerned activists.' Aristide R. Zolberg, Walter P. Eberstadt Professor of Political Science, New School University

    '… well-written and interesting … The attempt to 'test' ethical theory against practice marks a welcome addition to the existing literature, and is a real virtue of this book.' International Affairs

    'Matthew Gibney elegantly explores the evolution of asylum practices of four liberal democracies, touching upon highly problematic ethical dimensions. … Gibney's profound engagement in the topic shows clearly.' Journal of Peace Research

    'Recent international refugee law scholarship has seen an increasing focus on a 'Convention Plus' approach to refugee-protection: that is, on international burden sharing arrangements, and the temporary protection of refugees in situ. Strong pragmatic arguments have been advanced for this shift in focus; whereas, to date, no sustained normative theoretical justification has been advanced in the same direction. In The Ethics and Politics of Asylum, Matthew Gibney makes an important contribution to filing that gap, and thus to grounding a Convention Plus approach in ethical as well as pragmatic-political imperatives.' International Journal of Refugee Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2004
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521009379
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 154 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Partiality: community, citizenship and the defence of closure
    2. Impartiality: freedom, equality and open borders
    3. The Federal Republic of Germany: the rise and fall of a right to asylum
    4. The United Kingdom: the value of asylum
    5. The United States: the making and breaking of a refugee consensus
    6. Australia: restricting asylum, resettling refugees
    7. From ideal to non-ideal theory: reckoning with the state, politics and consequences
    8. Liberal democratic states and ethically defensible asylum practices
    List of references

  • Author

    Matthew J. Gibney, University of Oxford
    Matthew J. Gibney is Elizabeth Colson Lecturer in Forced Migration at the Refugee Studies Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, and Official Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford. He has published many articles on asylum and immigration and is the editor of Globalizing Rights: The Oxford Amnesty Lectures (2003). He is the editor (with Randall Hansen) of a three-volume encyclopedia Immigration and Asylum: From 1900 to the Present (2005).

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