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Yang, Ya-Wen (2019) Towards Democratic Citizenship for Temporary Migrant Workers : A Non-domination Approach. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis considers political exclusion of temporary migrant workers (TMWs) a challenge to the legitimacy of the liberal democratic constitutional state, asking whether, and on what basis, the right to political participation is necessary for protecting TMWs and for legitimising the state’s coercive power over TMWs. It compares TMW programmes in Taiwan and Canada to demonstrate the common legal techniques of temporariness and alienage, which generate a particularly precarious and exploitable labour force. The temporariness and alienage of TMWs also mean TMWs are deemed irrelevant to the democratic legitimacy of the host state. To challenge this conventional view, this thesis critically engages with the neo-republican conception of freedom as non-domination to argue that the work relations of TMWs constitute private domination, which is conceptually connected with their exclusion from public participation. Moreover, the democratic boundary of the state should be drawn to include all who are present in the state’s territory and who are subject to the entire legal system, regardless of their legal citizenship. These arguments anticipate a conception of democratic citizenship applicable to TMWs. This thesis thus distinguishes itself from the two major camps for TMW protection: rights and citizenship approaches. It also suggests that TMW programmes, as they are now, weaken the democratic legitimacy of the liberal, democratic, constitutional order.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
Keywords: temporary migrant workers, Taiwan, Canada, freedom as non-domination, Phillip Pettit, neo-republicanism, public domination, democratic legitimacy, citizenship
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Nimer Sultany
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 11:39

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