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Real Realism on Migration

Real Realism on Migration

Lea Ypi Headshot
April 7, 2017 -
1:15pm to 3:00pm
Encina Hall West, Room 400 (Graham Stuart Lounge)
Event Speaker: 
Lea Ypi, Associate Professor in Political Theory, London School of Economics

This paper addresses some of the core claims that advocates of realism about migration tend to make when reflecting on the conflicts that the movement of people across borders poses for contemporary liberal democracies. I argue that migration poses serious questions of justice but that such questions ought to be examined in the context of a larger analysis of capitalist injustice, the historical context of its production and the agents responsible for and affected by it. If we isolate the discussion of migration-related problems and ground it on an abstract analysis of human rights to freedom of movement, morality of border controls or humanitarian compassion towards vulnerable people, we end up depriving ourselves of the most effective tools for identifying a remedy to them.


Lea Ypi is Associate Professor in Political Theory in the Government Department, London School of Economics, and Adjunct Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. Before joining the LSE, she was a Post-doctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College (Oxford) and a researcher at the European University Institute where she obtained her PhD.

She has degrees in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Rome, La Sapienza, and has held visiting and research positions at Sciences Po, the University of Frankfurt, the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, the Australian National University and the Italian Institute for Historical Studies.