Guest editors: Adrian Little and Terry Macdonald
The movement and displacement of people across state boundaries – in particular, of people seeking escape from severe forms of political, economic, or environmental threat or hardship – now occurs on a scale unprecedented in previous eras of international politics. This special issue introduces the project developed of a search for principles of ‘real-world’ justice in international migration that can offer practical guidance on real political problems of migration governance. The six papers in this collection pursue inquiries into the conditions for real-world justice in migration through a focus on problems at both conceptual and policy levels.
Adrian Little and Terry Macdonald
Introduction to special issue: Real-world justice and international migration European Journal of Political Theory October 2015 14: 381-390, doi:10.1177/1474885115584832
In this article, we introduce the project developed in this special issue: a search for principles of ‘real-world’ justice in international migration that can offer practical guidance on real political problems of migration governance. We begin by highlighting two sources of divergence between the principal topics of theoretical controversy within literatures on migration justice and the animating sources of political controversy within real national and international publics. These arise first in the framing of the problems on which normative theory is purported to offer guidance, and second in the character of the normative reasons that are invoked as grounds for settling the controversies. In response to these divergences, we propose that the development of action-guiding normative theories of international migration can be supported with resources from broadly ‘realist’ approaches to political theory. We outline three key dimensions in which the ‘real-world’ theoretical approaches developed in this collection of papers connect up with important themes in the wider theoretical literature on political ‘realism’: first, a problem-centred methodological strategy; second, a focus on the value of political legitimacy; and third, a commitment to reconciling systematic engagement with real political problems and circumstances with a critical normative orientation towards political problems.