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Your browser does not support native audio, but you can download this MP3 to listen on your device. Cohen, whose specialties include contemporary and modern political theory, discusses immigration politics in the United States. She is introduced by Ben Berger, executive director of the Lang Center. Cohen, who specializes in contemporary and modern political theory, history of political thought, immigration, and citizenship, is the author of Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politicsin which she introduces the concept of semi-citizenship as a means of advancing debates about individuals who hold some but not all elements of full democratic citizenship.
Her essay, "Why Trump's immigration policies will increase undocumented immigration," recently appeared in Politico. Cohen graduated with Honors from Swarthmore with a double major in philosophy and sociology and anthropology and minor in political science. She earned her doctorate from Yale University. Her talk, sponsored by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibilitypreceded a complementary panel discussion on the sanctuary movement.
A lot of other affiliations too. Was a visiting scholar recently at Russell City Foundation. Elizabeth, in addition to being an associate professor at Syracuse, has her PhD in Political Science from Yale University, and maybe most ificantly, has her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore majoring not in political science, but in sociology and anthropology, minoring in both political science and philosophy, and minoring in Hans [inaudible ], who is shown here. Really terrific, what a lot of us know to be a great social and political philosophy honors seminar with Hans.
Professor Cohen is the author of "Semi-citizenship and Democratic Politics". That was published by Cambridge Press, and that's going to relate to some of the comments that you're talking about today, as well as a more recent publications, like on political article that I first circulated through e-mail on the Trump Administration policies on undocumented immigration. That's forthcoming, as well as another book by manuscript that's coming out with Russell Sage, right?
You've been a very busy person, a real credit to Swarthmore with scholarship and with writing, and we're super happy to welcome you and hope that the backhoes keep it quiet there in the construction site. Welcome to Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth Cohen: Thank you so much, I want to thank [inaudible ] Colina and Ben for inviting me.
This is a place that's meant a lot to me and it's just I was very overwhelmed when I came back on campus. It is almost 27 years to the day, think I got that right, since I received my acceptance letter to Swarthmore, and I'm so grateful for everything that I was Us citizen in Syracuse want eu citizenship to acquire while I was here, both academically and personally.
Especially grateful to Hans, who brought me into the study of political theory. I will say that it's also daunting to be here, because I remember really clearly how high my expectations were when there was a visiting speaker. I imagine that they were thinking really impressive things and I can assure you that now that I'm thinking the things up here, they're not as impressive as what I thought Us citizen in Syracuse want eu citizenship would be as a student. I'm hoping that we can have a really good conversation together, because one thing I know about Swarthmore students is that they raise the bar for everyone around them.
Ben asked me to speak today generally on the subject of citizenship and immigration, and since that's a really dull and un-newsworthy topic these days, I was not sure what to say, so I thought I would just tell you a little bit about what I've been thinking lately. Not just in reaction to the most recent things that we've been seeing in the newspapers like the Muslim ban or mass deportation, questions about sanctuary, but with a broader view to where we've been headed over a slightly longer period of time. I also want to say that if any point, I'm going to do a little political theory and then a little bit of policy and law side of things, but if at any point you're like, "This is not where we should be right now," and you want to interrupt with a question or to redirect, I'm totally fine.
Just talking about whatever it is that's on your minds. It's anywhere [inaudible ] that I speak with authority. I'm going to overview the things I've been thinking and one of the things that I think a lot about is how and whether people are fully included. I think I was thinking about this when I was here already.
Whether people are fully included and enfranchised in a developed democracy, regardless of whether you think they are, or whether you think they should be, what's the actual state of citizenship as opposed to the way we throw the term around? One of the things that struck me over the years, or one of the things that's struck me continually, is that we are not all fully enfranchised.
In fact, it's quite common for people to not have rights of citizenship. Maybe some, but not all. In my parlance, as Ben mentioned, we see among our ranks a of people who are semi-citizens. There are many reasons for this.
I'm not going to be able to talk about all of them, but I want to point out one of the less obvious, but maybe more fundamental ones. That is that there is a paradox in our politics. We're in a liberal democratic state, and there's a paradox. This thing, citizenship, it's supposed to, we say it's supposed to impose some kind of identical, uniform status on all of us.
We know we're not all the same. In fact, we're pretty happy about that, but when you go out in public, we're kind of cloaked in this thing, this status, that treats us as if we're all the same before the eyes of the law. If you read any theorist of citizenship, you will see that almost all of them expect, anticipate, assume there will be exceptions to this uniform political status, that there will be some of these semi-citizens is both not anticipated and anticipated by the people who thought about this most deeply. The citizenship that I'm talking about, I know that not everybody talks about this word the same way, but when I'm speaking right now, I just want to talk about our rights.
The rights that we have or the rights that people don't have. Rights vary across countries; we don't all have exactly the same set of rights in between countries, but just very loosely I'll say, our rights include civil rights and liberties, political rights of participation and representation, and then social rights.
The social rights we have are intended, when we actually have them, to [inaudible ] against the worst inequalities brought about in capitalism. Then we have rights of legal nationality that commit residents and freedom of movement within and across the borders, so that we can assume leave the country and come back, which is, of course, in question right now, and also that we can move freely within our own borders.
Having stipulated that we don't all actually always have all of these rights, even though in many cases we're all qualified for citizenship, I want to talk a little bit about why it is. I'll say that I think we have a couple of founding doctrines in a liberal democracy, in any liberal democracy, although I will mostly be talking about the one where [inaudible ] right now. In [inaudible ] liberalism, we have something I'll call ethical democracy in democratic theory. How many of you have taken a democratic theory class [inaudible ]?
Okay, you've taught. Some kind of administrative doctrine. We have liberal universalism, just this belief that we are actually all in some way inherently equal and that entitles us to equal standing before the law. Liberalism is really unfriendly to borders. When we're talking about having a boundary and some people are included and some people are excluded, that doesn't generally come from liberalism because if we're actually inherently equal, then it's very difficult to make distinctions that would entitle some people to be somewhere and other people not to be in that place.
Boundaries are difficult within liberalism. Democratic theory is very friendly to some kind of boundaries. A demos, a people, it must be bounded. It's usually bounded and connected to some kind of ethical tradition. Then finally we have states, right?
We have the actual apparatus that gets things done in a practical way. Reason of state. States, it's a [inaudible ] thing, they don't really think, insofar as there's some kind of logic to states, basically the state, they're going to be efficient and they're going to preserve sovereignty, and they're going to want to preserve our security. The state's here to keep us safe. Maybe not in the way we want to become safe, but the state would say, "I think [inaudible ] in the same way. I want a large, healthy population that's productive and lives as long as its life expectancy can possibly be stretched.
Those are three ways of thinking about citizenship, and you can see they're in conflict with each other and I think you can probably see we need all three of these things to have a little democratic state, right? You can't get rid of the state; something has to administer us. You can't get rid of democratic theory if you want to have a democracy, and we still like the idea of some kind of equality. You have all these three things working together, but actually at some points working against each other too. When those conflicts happen, the doctrines have to resolve and they resolve by compromising, and they compromise our rights.
What gets compromised is actually our citizenship. When I talk about semi-citizenship, I actually think that, although we might expect citizenship to be the norm, we might expect we're all going to have this status of citizen, actually the norm is that people move in and out of semi-citizenship throughout the course of their lives. We might qualify it according to one doctrine and not another.
Children, right? Nobody is born a full citizen. Children have pretty impoverished civil and political and even free movement rights. It would be difficult to let children move across borders without any kind of supervision.
Incarcerated persons are semi-citizens in much the same way that children are, with very impoverished sets of political, civil, and freedom of movement rights. This is something we've all experienced. Like I said, more than [inaudible ] exception. No one's going to get away without this. Although I'm really interested in lots of manifestations of semi-citizenship, I think that the one that we are focused on probably most closely right now, the one I think most about lately, are people not born territory in which they are living.
Immigrants, non-nationals, foreign-born person. They're probably the least example around most of the people without full rights, but they're also at the center of some pretty huge debates, and those debates have been going on for several decades at least. Now I want to talk about these groups.Us citizen in Syracuse want eu citizenship
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