EXC 2060 B3-6 - The concept of cultural homogeneity in liberal approaches to the ethics of migration

Basic data for this project

Type of project: Subproject in DFG-joint project hosted at University of Münster
Duration: 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022 | 1st Funding period


The legitimacy of immigration restrictions is sometimes justified by the fact that societies have a right to protect their traditional culture and to maintain a certain degree of cultural and religious homogeneity. This argument is not only found in public discourses, but is also explicitly represented in philosophical debate. In the current philosophical debate, even authors who explicitly see themselves in the tradition of liberal theory refer to the idea of cultural homogeneity. One of the essential characteristics of liberal approaches to political philosophy, however, is the neutrality of the state towards diverging life styles of its citizens, and thus also towards cultural affiliations. Therefore, the question arises whether the reference to cultural homogeneity does not generally violate the principle of neutrality. That the argument of cultural homogeneity, on the other hand, should not be prematurely regarded as necessarily illiberal is shown by intuitions about the rights of natives. Many people assume that the descendants of the Native Americans may legitimately close their territories in North and South America to members of foreign cultures. Furthermore, as far as modern societies are concerned, the importance of a common "public culture" is often emphasized. Thus, even in liberal theorizing the idea that cultural homogeneity can be normatively significant should not be denied from the outset. The project will therefore discuss how the idea of cultural and religious homogeneity can be used as an argument for migration restrictions in liberal theories of migration ethics.

Keywords: Religion; Politics; cultural homogeneity; liberalism; ethics of migration