Life plans, the principle of accommodation and temporary migrants

Stream: Panel 31 - Political Theory: Temporary Migration 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


Liberal justice holds that people should be regarded as purposeful agents, thus liberal institutions aim to establish the conditions in which people can pursue their life plans and conception of the good. In this paper we first define “life plan” and then defend the general principle that political institutions should treat people as bearers of life plans. We call this the "principle of accommodation". On these grounds, we argue that in many cases, with the exception of most instances of forced migration, migration should be seen as part of a migrant’s life plan and thus worthy of accommodation. We argue that this holds for many migrants who engage in temporary migration. Establishing this helps us pinpoint the failures of current migratory regimes in facilitating these specific life plans, and to devise the institutional measures and rights that would be needed in order to adequately accommodate them. Finally, we address a concern about the claim that the life plans of those engaged in temporary migration projects should be accommodated by liberal institutions. If such plans are riskier than other - more "orthodox" - life plans, and are voluntarily chosen, those who undertake them should bear the costs and risks involved. We show that this concern can be dispelled once we correctly frame the role of voluntariness and of institutions in determining what is due to people as a consequence of their choices.


Tiziana Torresi (Presenter), University of Adelaide
Tiziana Torresi is a Lecturer in International politics at the University of Adelaide. She received her Doctorate from the University of Oxford where she also held a Lectureship. Her research interests are mainly in normative international theory. She has written extensively on migration, particularly temporary migration and published on these topics in journals such as Journal of Political Philosophy, International Migration Review, Critical review of Social and Political Theory. She is a founding member of the Global Justice Network

Valeria Ottonelli, Università di Genova
Valeria Ottonelli is Associate Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Genova, Italy. Her last book, in Italian, is The Procedural principles of Democracy (Bologna, 2012). She is working (with Tiziana Torresi) on a book on temporary migration. Her work appeared in Political Studies, The Journal of Political Philosophy, Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, International Migration Review and Politics, Philosophy and Economics.