Res Publica

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 101–117 | Cite as

A Fluid Demos for a Hypermigration Polity

  • Enrico BialeEmail author


In this paper I will hold that it is desirable to ensure people be included within the borders and the political community both, but I will point out the potential incompatibility of the two. In an open-borders society, members of a polity would not be exclusively individuals who expect to stay in a country for a long time but also people who temporarily work and live there. Among this latter group would be individuals who would continuously migrate—call them hypermigrants. While I agree that hypermigrants cannot be fully included in the decision making, excluding them is problematic because it justifies a hierarchical society. The case of hypermigrants points to the tension between treating people as equals by including them in a democratic system whose members do not simply support their own interests but strive for the common good and by including them in an open-borders society that acknowledges their life plans as of equal worth. To overcome these problems I will claim that it is possible to justify an account of a fluid demos that provides different levels of political inclusion and addresses the challenges of a hypermigration polity. In this account, citizenship and full political inclusion are granted to permanent members only but hypermigrants are partially included. This perspective recognises every member of the polity as equal and ensures that she has control over the relevant political decisions without undermining the idea that citizenship requires a sense of belonging to the political community and concern for its long-term interests.


Democratic boundary Open borders Demos Migration Citizenship Political inclusion 



The author wishes to thank, for their insightful comments, Emanuela Ceva, Francesco Chiesa, Federica Liveriero and Valeria Ottonelli, as well as two anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesUniversity of Piemonte OrientaleVercelliItaly

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