This panel aims at bringing together theoretical and empirical works on the participation and representation of denizens in democracy (we follow Bryan Turner’s definition of denizens as “a group of people permanently resident in a foreign country, but only enjoying limited partial rights of citizenship”).
Recent debates on migration shed a light on a wide range of new actors (both individual and institutional) contesting mainstream policies of border closing. While a lot has been said in France about civil disobedience and the criminalization of solidarity, there are in Europe more generally many initiatives, associations, NGOs, forums, churches, and cities, that act daily to help and empower migrant voices. These transnational activists express and publicize claims of denizens, and aim to mobilize public opinions around police and administrative practices at the borders.
The political theory literature is developing justifications for a better and wider democratic inclusion of foreigners (be they resident or not). The practical outputs of this inclusion remain however vague (local or national franchise, access to citizenship, transnational forums, etc.), because their legitimizing principles remain normatively controversial (all affected interests principle, all subjected principle, stakeholder principle, unbounded demos, demoicracy, etc.).
We wish to further explore this normative debate by looking into empirical practices of participation and representation of migrants.
• While we may reject both the utopian proposal of a global demos and the resigned acceptance of an exclusive citizenship, how could we think of a more open political representation?
• Without opportunities of direct participation, how can non-citizens legitimate and express their claims?
• What political organization and what kind of participation can refugees have access to?
• How to assess the legitimacy of self-appointed representatives of the migrants’ interests?
• What can we learn from the various experiments of local assemblies of resident foreigners?
Through these different questions, we hope first to contribute to the ongoing debate in political theory regarding the best normative principles guiding democratic inclusion and exclusion, focusing on the issues of participation and representation. Second, we wish to provide these normative discussions with an empirical foundation, using recent findings in the sociology of mobilizations, and in particular studies of mobilizations of or for migrants.