Human Rights and Global Justice in the Context of International Migrations 

Project financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Project Ref. FFI2013-42521-P)


This project addresses the need to reconsider, from a conceptual as well as normative perspective, human rights and the theories of justice within the new environment generated by the transformation of the social frames of reference in which international migrations take place nowadays.

It is impossible to understand and manage the processes of human mobility if it is not done in a global perspective. Therefore, to take into consideration or not such a perspective has enormous consequences on the social analysis. In the context of a globalized world it would be reasonable to pose the hypothesis that the inefficiency of the policies that try to prevent and control migration is related to structural factors in both origin and destination societies. Push and pull factors acting on both ends of the process are highly interconnected in contemporary societies. At the same time, the world remains politically a world of sovereign states defined by borders. Indeed, the nation state perspective determines in most cases migration policies. Usually, migration policies are not (or just rhetorically) designed in a global perspective. The effects of this tendency can also be noted at a normative level, so that nearly no attention is paid to structural injustices caused by maintaining the native/foreigner dichotomy and that are covered up in the purportedly neutral normative approaches.

Our aim is to introduce a global perspective in the normative study of human mobility analyzing the following points:

A.The formulation of an integral notion of justice from a cosmopolitan perspective that takes into account three main dimensions of justice: the socioeconomic dimension related to redistribution; the cultural dimension related to the recognition and respect of particular identities compatible with human rights; and the political dimension, related to representation in the public sphere.

B.The analysis of the intersection of these three dimensions of justice with the structural inequality associated with the native/foreigner dichotomy. We undertake the study of these relations with special care to avoid the methodological nationalism in the reference theories and the exclusionary bias in the normative orientation of migration policies.

C.The aproximation to a cosmopolitan or transnational citizenship that serves as a guarantee of political, socio-economic and cultural rights. Special emphasis will be put on how the criteria of redistribution of wealth could be integrated in the core of human rights discourse and practice in accordance with the imperatives of social justice.


Specific aims guiding the project are:

1.To inventory and analyze the theoretical contributions of the last decade about justice and human rights in a globalized world, especially those inspired by the work of Rawls and Habermas, in order to contrast them with the traditional paradigms of national sovereignty and citizenship.

2.To apply the results of the previous analysis to the migration policies deployed by democratic receiving countries (with special attention to the case of Spain and the EU) and rebuilt the conceptual and theoretical framework on cosmopolitan or transnational citizenship that can serve to guarantee fundamentals rights to every person no matter where in the planet he/she stays.

3.To suggest normative guidelines for migration policies in order to adjust such policies to the standards of global justice and universal human rights.


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