Liberal Cosmopolitan Norms and the Border: Local Actors' Critique of the Governance of Global Processes

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Liberal cosmopolitanism provides a set of norms that calls for the openness of borders. Freedom of movement, equality in opportunity and hospitality define a liberal framework for a state’s ruling over the access of foreigners to the territory. However, in states’ execution of border and immigration control these normative ideals seem not to apply. Accounts of border and immigration policy and discourse document a bias towards exclusion, restriction and securitization. It looks as if this normative political theory has no bearing on the real world. This is the starting point for an exploration into the public discourse on liberal cosmopolitan norms and the border. The study finds that most collective actors consider the application of the norms to be utopian. Still, they heavily draw on these norms as a means to critique domestic policies that attempt to regulate global mobility. These are considered to be morally wrong or insufficient for providing equality in opportunities, solidarity, or protection. Actors’ interpretation of key norms such as equality, hospitality and social justice varies significantly which calls for empirical as well theoretical work on the often Janus-faced implications of putting cosmopolitan norms into practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-361
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • cosmopolitan norms


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