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The University of Southampton

PAIR6012 The Ethics and Politics of Migration

Module Overview

Migration is a topic at the centre of political concerns on scales ranging from local to global. The central question that this module addresses is this: How should transnational migration be governed? It does so by focusing on the key normative debates surrounding migration in general and specific forms of migration in particular. There are three main parts to the module: 1) The political ethics of territorial borders which addresses issues concerning the right to regulate borders 2) The political ethics of migration which addresses the ethical claims of different kinds of migration 3) The political ethics of civic boundaries which addresses access to, and forms of, civic status in relation to migration. Structured by these foci, the module will address the main positions, arguments and debates within the contemporary political theory of migration attending to justice, democracy and security as key values for reflecting critically on these positions, arguments and debates.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of contending approaches to the political theory of migration and their implications for democratic citizenship, global justice and international security.
  • Communicate critically.
  • Relate to wider debates in political theory and global governance.
  • Critically assess the theoretical literature on citizenship, borders and migration; independently synthesise library, internet and other media material on citizenship, borders and migration; and construct arguments concerning the nature and value of citizenship.
  • Communicate complex ideas on the politics and ethics of migration; identify, select and access a range of sources of printed, electronic and other material relevant to migration as a means to the development and presentation of arguments and evidence


1. Ethics and Politics of Territorial Borders (including case-study on detention and deportation) 2. Norms and Institutions of Global Migration Governance (including case-study on health security and medical migration, and on securitization of migration) 3. Ethics and Politics of Civic Boundaries (including case-study on denaturalization and the ‘war on terror’)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly two-hour sessions that will embody: Lectures and seminars iscussion Analysis of theoretical text and contemporary practices

Independent Study176
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Rainer Baubock. Transnational Citizenship (background text). 

Brian Barry & Bob Goodins (Eds). Free Movement (background text). 

Warren Schwartz. Justice in Immigration (background text). 

Seyla Benhabib. The Rights of Others (backgroud text). 

Matthew Gibney. The Ethics and Politics of Asylum (background text). 

Phillip Cole. Philosopies of Exclusion (background text). 

Ruth Rubio-Marin. Immigration as Democratic Challenge (background text). 



MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  ( words) 30%
Essay  (3000 words) 70%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase reading texts as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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