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Cosmopolitanism and migrant rights

Migration A–Z


  1. Lydia Morris

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm149

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Morris, L. 2013. Cosmopolitanism and migrant rights. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


A useful preliminary to thinking about immigration law, immigration control, and migrants' rights is to be found in a broader sociological argument about an emergent cosmopolitanism, which characterizes changes in the nature of society and advocates corresponding changes in the discipline of sociology that also have implications for how we think about the law. Ulrich Beck 2006 has been a key figure in related debate, arguing that cosmopolitan forces are transforming the experiential space of the nation-state and that the “methodological nationalism” which has characterized sociological thinking must give way to an approach that recognizes the “mythic” status of the national state, and the transnational realities that are reshaping our social world. In other words, we must no longer conceive of society as a bounded entity which has its existence within the borders of the nation-state, but (presumably) rather as a network of social forces and transnational movements which has no clearly delimited geographical home. However, Beck argues against a dichotomizing view that sets the national and the global perspectives in opposition. He favors instead an approach which recognizes the global forces written into national dynamics such that the national and transnational are interlocking and mutually constituting phenomena. The transnational migrant is a key figure in the picture that he paints, provoking “explosive questions” about the rights of noncitizens, and the capacity of the nation-state to exert control over its borders.


  • cultural diversity;
  • cross-cultural;
  • transnationalism;
  • civil rights;
  • demography and population studies;
  • diaspora