Neil Brown; The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents and Citizens. By Seyla Benhabib. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. xii + 251 pp. £40.00, 0 521 83134 2 hb; £15.99, 0 521 53860 2 pb.. Journal of Refugee Studies 2005; 18 (2): 235-236. doi: 10.1093/refuge/fei023
Human rights activists and cosmopolitan theorists who rail against exclusive political borders will be disappointed in The Rights of Others. Equally frustrated will be sovereignty stalwarts and communitarians believing in the sanctity of those borders. From the principle that political inclusion is key to individual equality and rights realization, it is argued that exclusion of refugees and migrants from democratic processes is not ethically defensible, but neither are calls for egalitarian membership in a global polity. In her laudable attempt to reconcile competing demands of universalism and particularism in rights, this publication of renowned political theorist Seyla Benhabib's Seeley Lectures argues that democratic legitimacy demands political membership of refugees and other migrants in their host states.
Benhabib uses Immanuel Kant's right of universal hospitality and Hannah Arendt's challenge to universal rights to elucidate a tension in rights discourse: belief in a universal norm of equal treatment versus real equality...
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The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents and Citizens. By Seyla Benhabib. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. xii + 251 pp. £40.00, 0 521 83134 2 hb; £15.99, 0 521 53860 2 pb. - 24 Hours access