Monsters, Inc.
The fightback
in The shifting border
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Sarah Fine begins her response by calling Ayelet Shachar's lead essay "a Leviathan for the twenty-first century." We have become accustomed to a “traditional” picture of the modern state where sovereign authority is clearly delineated by borders lying at its territory’s edges, but as Shachar shows, this is an illusion. Just as Hobbes's Leviathan was a protean entity, capable of changing its form when required, so borders are transforming to suit the evolving legal and political landscape. Fine proceeds to outline Shachar's analysis of how borders function in practice. She then describes and assesses three possible responses to "living among monsters." The first of these is to admit defeat. The second—Shachar's preference—is to try to tame the monsters through legal methods: extending protections to follow the de-territorialized model, making available more safe, legal routes to places of protection. Fine observes that Shachar's preference for such methods derives from a “non-idealist” attitude to the shifting border that recognizes states’ sovereign authority to regulate movement. While agreeing that this response would be "much better than what we have now," Fine argues that it would leave many of the “dark corners” of migration control unlit. Her preference, the third response, is to fight back through grassroots political resistance. At the same time, she observes that the power of the shifting border is rooted in the belief that migration control is a fundamental sovereign right of states, and questions whether this belief is really justified.

The shifting border

Legal cartographies of migration and mobility: Ayelet Shachar in dialogue


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