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Migrationspolitiska dilemman : Om idealism och realism i liberal politisk teori

Östbring, Björn LU (2019) In Lund Political Studies
Abstract
The refugee crisis of 2015 forced Sweden and its citizens to face a politically and morally difficult question. What obligations do we have toward people seeking refuge? In the public debate it is easy to discern two camps expressing opposing and deeply held moral beliefs. A struggle between on the one hand a primarily national outlook and particularistic ethic in which the interests and identities of the current members of society set clear limits to the obligations that the state should take upon itself, and one the other an universalistic ethical view which highlights human rights and humanitarian needs, and criticices the exclusionary consequences of the nationalistic outlook.

In this dissertation the struggle between these... (More)
The refugee crisis of 2015 forced Sweden and its citizens to face a politically and morally difficult question. What obligations do we have toward people seeking refuge? In the public debate it is easy to discern two camps expressing opposing and deeply held moral beliefs. A struggle between on the one hand a primarily national outlook and particularistic ethic in which the interests and identities of the current members of society set clear limits to the obligations that the state should take upon itself, and one the other an universalistic ethical view which highlights human rights and humanitarian needs, and criticices the exclusionary consequences of the nationalistic outlook.

In this dissertation the struggle between these two moral and political views is discussed within the realm of liberal political theory. Liberalism is commonly assumed to be universalistic by its nature, and thus critical of the rights and practices of states to exclude outsiders and prioritize members. But the relationship between liberalism and nationalism is not straitforward. Proponents of what is called liberal nationalism press the point that it is often within traditional nation states that liberal ideals of individual liberty and equality has been achieved, and they argue that liberal theory as well as practise should reflect that egalitarian and democratic institutions are dependent on a degree of cohesion, trust and solidarity that a world organized in accordance with universal principles is unlikely to maintain.

This normative debate in political theory is analyzed, furthermore, in the light of another major debate, namely the issue over “idealism” and “realism” as different approaches in normative theory. The aim of the dissertation is to analyze how differences at this meta-theoretical level – views on the purpose of normative theory, the relationship between ideals and the existing social and political reality, and deep assumptions about humans and political life – affect which ideals, institutions and policies that a normative theory proposes to be right and desirable. When applied to the issue of migration and the nation state, the specific aim is to clarify how different meta-theoretical views underlie central arguments in the debate between liberal universalists and liberal nationalists. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Den globala flyktingkrisen ställer Sverige inför en svårhanterlig politisk och moralisk fråga. Vilka skyldigheter har vi mot människor på flykt, och finns det en gräns för hur många flyktingar vi kan ta emot? I den politiska debatten går det att skönja att mycket grundläggande normativa föreställningar står mot varandra. En dragkamp mellan å ena sidan en partikularistisk etik och en nationell syn på staten, där de egna medborgarnas intressen och samhällsgemenskap sätter gränser för vilka åtaganden som Sverige kan ha, och å andra sidan en universalistisk etik som fokuserar på mänskliga rättigheter och humanitära behov och som ifrågasätter den nationalstatliga ordningens exkluderande konsekvenser.

I avhandlingen behandlas denna... (More)
Den globala flyktingkrisen ställer Sverige inför en svårhanterlig politisk och moralisk fråga. Vilka skyldigheter har vi mot människor på flykt, och finns det en gräns för hur många flyktingar vi kan ta emot? I den politiska debatten går det att skönja att mycket grundläggande normativa föreställningar står mot varandra. En dragkamp mellan å ena sidan en partikularistisk etik och en nationell syn på staten, där de egna medborgarnas intressen och samhällsgemenskap sätter gränser för vilka åtaganden som Sverige kan ha, och å andra sidan en universalistisk etik som fokuserar på mänskliga rättigheter och humanitära behov och som ifrågasätter den nationalstatliga ordningens exkluderande konsekvenser.

I avhandlingen behandlas denna motsättning inom ramarna för liberal politisk teori. Liberalismen antas vanligen vara universalistisk till sin natur, och är således i grunden kritisk till nationalstaters sätt att prioritera vissa människors intressen framför andras på vad som betraktas som moraliskt godtyckliga grunder. Men frågan är inte fullt så enkel. Företrädare för så kallad liberal nationalism argumenterar att både liberal teori och praktik bör acceptera att socialliberala och liberaldemokratiska institutioner förutsätter ett större mått av ömsesidig identifikation, tillit och solidaritet bland samhällets invånare än vad som vore möjligt i en värld organiserad efter universalistiska principer.

Denna skiljelinje inom normativ teori analyseras i avhandlingen i ljuset av en central metateoretisk diskussion inom politisk teori i allmänhet, en diskussion som det senaste decenniet pågått kring idealism och realism som olika utgångspunkter för normativ analys. Avhandlingens övergripande syfte är att belysa hur olika metateoretiska utgångspunkter – synsätt kring syftet med normativ teori, relationen mellan ideal och verklighet och antaganden kring människans och politikens natur – påverkar vilka ideal, institutioner eller handlingar som en normativ teori bedömer som rättfärdiga och önskvärda. På en mer specifik nivå är syftet är att klargöra betydelsen av sådana utgångspunkter i relation till normativ teori om migration och nationalism, och i förlängningen för möjligheten att göra välgrundade ställningstaganden i förhållande till en konkret politisk situation av det slag som flyktingkrisen ställer oss inför. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Beckman, Ludvig, Stockholms universitet
organization
alternative title
Dilemmas of Migration Policy : On Idealism and Realism in Liberal Political Theory
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
migration, asyl, nationalstaten, liberalism, realism, idealism, politisk teori, migration, asylum, nation state, liberalism, nationalism, realism, idealism
in
Lund Political Studies
issue
195
pages
225 pages
publisher
Lunds universitet
defense location
Edens hörsal, Paradisagatn 5H, Lund
defense date
2019-03-01 10:15:00
ISSN
0460-0037
ISBN
978-91-7753-966-7
978-91-7753-967-4
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
d43dba60-ce9b-46a2-aace-4e785205fc97
date added to LUP
2019-02-04 11:17:30
date last changed
2019-09-08 14:41:10
@phdthesis{d43dba60-ce9b-46a2-aace-4e785205fc97,
  abstract     = {The refugee crisis of 2015 forced Sweden and its citizens to face a politically and morally difficult question. What obligations do we have toward people seeking refuge? In the public debate it is easy to discern two camps expressing opposing and deeply held moral beliefs. A struggle between on the one hand a primarily national outlook and particularistic ethic in which the interests and identities of the current members of society set clear limits to the obligations that the state should take upon itself, and one the other an universalistic ethical view which highlights human rights and humanitarian needs, and criticices the exclusionary consequences of the nationalistic outlook.<br/><br/>In this dissertation the struggle between these two moral and political views is discussed within the realm of liberal political theory. Liberalism is commonly assumed to be universalistic by its nature, and thus critical of the rights and practices of states to exclude outsiders and prioritize members. But the relationship between liberalism and nationalism is not straitforward. Proponents of what is called liberal nationalism press the point that it is often within traditional nation states that liberal ideals of individual liberty and equality has been achieved, and they argue that liberal theory as well as practise should reflect that egalitarian and democratic institutions are dependent on a degree of cohesion, trust and solidarity that a world organized in accordance with universal principles is unlikely to maintain. <br/><br/>This normative debate in political theory is analyzed, furthermore, in the light of another major debate, namely the issue over “idealism” and “realism” as different approaches in normative theory. The aim of the dissertation is to analyze how differences at this meta-theoretical level – views on the purpose of normative theory, the relationship between ideals and the existing social and political reality, and deep assumptions about humans and political life – affect which ideals, institutions and policies that a normative theory proposes to be right and desirable. When applied to the issue of migration and the nation state, the specific aim is to clarify how different meta-theoretical views underlie central arguments in the debate between liberal universalists and liberal nationalists.},
  author       = {Östbring, Björn},
  isbn         = {978-91-7753-966-7},
  issn         = {0460-0037},
  language     = {swe},
  number       = {195},
  publisher    = {Lunds universitet},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Political Studies},
  title        = {Migrationspolitiska dilemman : Om idealism och realism i liberal politisk teori},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/57605453/Ostbring_2019_Migrationspolitiska_dilemman.pdf},
  year         = {2019},
}