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Title: A Republican theory of political asylum
Author: Peruniak, Blair
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 7070
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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Political asylum is thought to be a distinctively liberal practice, its scope and limits uniquely justified with respect to the values and institutions of the liberal state. Yet liberal states repeatedly fail to live up to their commitments and there remains deep disagreement about the value and role of asylum in modern liberal societies. What role should the liberal state play in defining international practices of political asylum? How should citizens and governments of liberal states respond to the claims of asylum seekers and refugees? Should they support government efforts to preserve the liberal institutions that safeguard freedoms they currently enjoy or promote new forms of governance capable of meeting the demands and challenges of ever larger numbers and more overtly political asylum-seekers? In this work, I argue that the practices of political asylum should be evaluated and reformed based on their capacity to generate wider democratic effects. Part I explains how practices of asylum can best be guided towards democratic ends by pursuing a political ideal of republican freedom, freedom as non-domination. Part II highlights the institutional implications of the republican approach in the form of associational democratic control of asylum practices. The response of liberal states to the claims of vast numbers of persons displaced or threated by political persecution should be guided by a radical program of republican reforms that prescribes new institutions of popular assembly and voluntary secondary associations to respond to and represent the interests and political well-being of refugees and citizens alike. The democratic effects of asylum are thus tied to particular forms of political and economic association as well as institutional competencies that refugees enjoy within their host societies. By encouraging mixed forms of associational democratic reform refugees can achieve three dimensions of democratic control within their host societies: control against the arbitrary power of citizens and governments of host societies, control against the arbitrary power of governments of refugees' states of origin, and control against the arbitrary power of other members of exiled communities. Since only democratic states can offer asylum in a way that is fully consistent with freedom as non-domination there is immense pressure on relatively few liberal states to take in ever more refugees and to adapt to increasingly pluralistic forms of governance. The response to refugees should not be to close the doors of the liberal state, but to devolve the powers of state institutions for asylum governance and adjudication to sub-national levels of decision-making and, simultaneously, to incorporate refugees into decision-making agencies based on voluntary, democratic consent and future planning in the midst of great uncertainty and social upheaval.
Supervisor: Gibney, Matthew Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political Asylum ; Associationism ; Imperialism ; Political science ; Republicanism ; Emigration and immigration ; Refugees