On Immigration and Refugees: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

On Immigration and Refugees

1st Edition

By Sir Michael Dummett


176 pages

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Paperback: 9780415227087
pub: 2001-05-21
Hardback: 9780415227070
pub: 2001-05-21
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203465516
pub: 2002-09-09
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Michael Dummett, philosopher and social critic, was one of the sharpest and most prominent commentators and campaigners for the fair treatment of immigrants and refugees in Britain and Europe. This book insightfully draws together his thoughts on this major issue for the first time.

Exploring the confused and often highly unjust thinking about immigration, Dummett then carefully questions the principles and justifications governing state policies, pointing out that they often conflict with the rights of refugees as laid down by the Geneva Convention. With compelling and often moving examples, On Immigration and Refugees points a new way forward for humane thinking and practice about a problem we cannot afford to ignore.


'Makes the case meticulously … a terrible indictment of modern British immigration policy.' - The Economist (WORLD)

'Passionately argued and shot through with a sense of urgency … an invigorating read.' - The Tablet

'acutely spots a blank in the mentality of earlier political philosophers who "have seldom asked what obligations a state has towards those who are not its citizens" and argues powerfully against those who "hold that we have at most only negative duties towards strangers: that, for example, we may not kill them, but have no duty to protect them from being killed". He exposes the fraudulence of the phrase "bogus asylum-seeker"It would be rash to expect so decent a voice will get much of a hearing. After all, selfishness is not only admired but encouraged all around us' - The Evening Standard

'Makes the case meticulously … Sir Michael's narrative gains power from its cold-blooded, uncoloured language … a terrible indictment of modern British immigration policy. - The Economist

'A timely and useful contribution to the debatea clear, readable and coherent argument.' - Humanist News

'A lucid philosophical discussion of the ethical principles at stake in matters of immigration and asylum, and a sharp review of the historical ways they have been manhandled.' - New Left Review

'Its greatest contribution is to demolish the arguments uses by politicians and the media, and to expose their implicit racism… It would be hard to find another short book which analyses the causes and development of racism so clearly, and shows the connivance in fostering racial prejudice of successive governments of all parties.' - Local Government Studies

'On Immigration and Refugees is an informed, engaging and often provocative polemic, deserving a wide readership.' - Journal of Peace Research 2002

Table of Contents

Preface Part 1: Principles 1. Some General Principles 2. The Duties of a State to Refugees 3. The Duties of a State to Immigrants 4. Grounds of Refusal 5. Citizenship Part 2: History 6. How Immigration was made a menace in Britain 7. From Immigrants to Refugees 8. Racism in Other European Countries and Immigration into Them. Index

About the Author

Sir Michael Dummett, (1925 - 2011) was Wykeham Professor of Logic at the University of Oxford until his retirement in 1992, and was knighted for his "services to philosophy and to racial justice" in 1999.

About the Series

Thinking in Action

'Three of the first batch deserve high praise: On Immigration and Refugees, by the great logician (and campaigner for racial equality) Michael Dummett; On Belief, by that master of postmodern paradox, Slavoj Zizek; and On the Internet by Hubert L Dreyfus.' - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

This is clearly an important series. I look forward to reading future volumes.' - Frank Kermode, author of Shakespeare's Language

Both rigorous and accessible.' - Humanist News

The series looks superb.' - Quentin Skinner

'An excellent and beautiful series.' - Ben Rogers, author of A.J.Ayer: A Life

"Routledge's Thinking in Action series is the theory junkie's answer to the eminently pocketable Penguin 60s series.' - Mute Magazine

'Routledge's new series, Thinking in Action, brings philosophers to our aid.' - The Evening Standard

'A welcome new series by Routledge.' - Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society

Thinking in Action
is a major series that takes philosophy to its public. Each book in the series is written by a major international philosopher or thinker, engages with an important contemporary topic, and is clearly and accessibly written. The series informs and sharpens debate on topics as wide ranging as the internet, religion, the problem of immigration and refugees and the way we think about science. Punchy, short, and stimulating, Thinking in Action is an indispensable series of books for anyone who wants to think seriously about major issues confronting us today.

Edited by Simon Critchley, New School University, USA and Richard Kearney, Boston College, USA

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Political