Sovereignty and its Subjects: The People, Citizens, Migrants and Foreigners

Directors: Melissa Amezcua and Emmanuel Guerisoli

This group will focus on how the boundaries of citizenship and membership in political communities have been transformed by the so-called war on terror and new practices of neoliberalism. Since 9/11, immigration policies have deeply changed in some countries, in some cases targeting minorities through a focus on security, or setting up exceptional spaces to contain migrants that are considered “dangerous” subjects. In the context of neoliberalism the group explores how the dispossessed or excluded by the market render themselves visible  through alternatives modes of “capitalism from below”; and, how the dismantlement of the welfare state and the emergence of consumerist citizenship has created multiple new kinds of “second citizens”.

 

Activity

In Fall 2014, the group focused its attention on exploring and discussing one of the lines of inquiry, that is the effects of constitutional formations in neoliberal contexts and their effects in perpetuating a second-class citizenship and political and cultural exclusion. In order to pursue this goal this group organized two internal meeting and one event.

  • September 2014. The objective of the first internal meeting was to coordinate the activities of the semester.
  • Open conversation with Prof. Andrew Arato to discuss one of his latest works “Beyond the Alternative Reform or Revolution: Post Sovereign Constitution Making and Latin America”. The purpose of this event was to generate an interdisciplinary discussion and multiple readings from the different lines of inquiry of each participant. This activity took place in October 6th at the Conference Room at the Sociology Department.
  • December 2014. The objective of the second internal meeting was to evaluate the advances of the group and to plan the following semester.

In Spring 2015, the working group centered on the organization of the Crossing Mexico conference.

Panel: The Right to Human Rights/El Derecho a los Derechos Humanos. Tishman Auditorium, The New School. Left to right: Alexandra Délano (Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility Co-Director), Ayten Gündoğdu (Barnard College), Amy Gottleib (American Friends Service Committee), Michael Evans (National Security Archive).

Panel: The Right to Human Rights/El Derecho a los Derechos Humanos. Left to right: Alexandra Délano (Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility Co-Director), Ayten Gündoğdu (Barnard College), Amy Gottleib (American Friends Service Committee), Michael Evans (National Security Archive).

A collective effort brought together the Janey Program for Latin American Studies and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at the New School as well as Princeton and NYU-Hemispheric Institute to organize a three-days conference named Crossing Mexico: Migration & Human Rights in the Age of Criminal Politics, which was held in March at Princeton University, NYU, and the New School. There were 28 presenting panelists that came from Universities, NGOs, the media, and government agencies from Mexico, Central America and the United States. The conference also showcased two film screenings, a photography exhibition and a teaching module. More information and videos are available here.

The conference mirrored the issues of citizenship, sovereignty, and foreignness by looking at a specific region, and, particularly, a country like Mexico. The symposium was not only successful in addressing those concerns but also in forging durable relationships with Princeton University, and especially with the Hemispheric Institute at NYU. The group is planning events with the latter for next year on the topic of alien-citizenship in the United States.

For a final report on the group’s activities please see here.