Beyond methodological Western-centrism

The ‘control gap’ debate reconsidered from a global perspective

Authored by: Blanca Garcés-Mascareñas

The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Migration in Europe

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201187
eBook ISBN: 9781315512853
Adobe ISBN:


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Theories of migration policies have paid particular attention to the questions why migration policies fail or why liberal states accept unwanted migration. While this literature offers greater understanding of the political and legal processes underlying the immigration policymaking, their scope is markedly limited by their methodological western-centrism, that is, the naturalisation of the Western liberal democratic state as the exclusive unit for comparative studies. This chapter aims to go beyond the traditional geographies of migration research to reconsider ‘from the outside’ to what extent liberal democracies are unique in their response to migration. While it is undeniable that rights-based politics account for the relaxing of residence rights and the expansion of foreigners’ rights to family reunification, we cannot conclude that liberal politics automatically translate into liberal policies and vice versa. Where politics seem to make a difference for policies is when we look at the nature of the immigration policymaking and the degree of restriction imposed on those already in the country. However, the prioritisation of securitisation arguments and the alleged need to preserve ‘Western civilisation’ are increasingly justifying illiberal policies in liberal states.

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