Deportation and Expulsion: Closing Borders, Defending Sovereignty

  • Steven Loyal
  • Stephen Quilley


At least in theory, in modern Western states, there is a deep and intrinsic relation between (more or less regulated) market capitalism and the principles of political liberalism. Such principles include universal suffrage, the protection of civil and political rights, political pluralism, the separation of powers, a division between the public and private, adherence to the rule of law, the protection of private property, a commitment to freedom of conscience and religion, an ontological commitment to individual freedom, and a practical commitment to freedoms of movement, occupational choice, speech and thought, cultural worldview, and political expression. With regard to the infrastructure and capacity of the state, a complex array of institutions and practices function to safeguard and balance these (often conflicting) freedoms. However, there is often a gulf between such underlying operating principles and their modus operandi in the face of particular problems. Liberal democratic states are complex and contradictory entities, simultaneously capitalist and national states, concerned with securing the conditions for capital accumulation and also the imperatives of nation-building, social cohesion, and political order. It is in the shifting balance between these interlinked aspects of the state within an international state system, that modern states express themselves: that is, liberal democratic with regard to the protection of individual rights, the rule of law, and adhering to international human rights obligations; capitalist with regard to fiscal base and flows of investment; and national with regard to the reproduction of a cohesive and ethno-culturally homogeneous population and the maintenance of social order through the exercise of symbolic coercion and physical violence. Though the capitalist aspect is usually dominant when examining society as a whole, the causal configuration of these three processes is differently mediated and weighted when examining the concrete conditions involving immigration. Here, nationalism, order, and security play a stronger role, whilst practices of state expulsion challenge the complacent liberal democratic self-image.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Loyal
    • 1
  • Stephen Quilley
    • 2
  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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