Global Migration and the Ethics of Hospitality
AuthorMadura, Lisa Marie
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The goal of this thesis is to use an ethical theory of hospitality to address the contemporary global backlash against immigration and forced migration. This thesis traces the development of an ethical theory of hospitality through the work of three major figures, Edmund Husserl, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida. I explore how Husserlian phenomenology reveals the cognitive disposition to categorize through acts of intentionality. I then turn to a Levinasian account of ethics to show that being hospitable amounts to a non-totalizing relation to the other, which renders all intentional relations inhospitable. The expository component ends with a look at how Derrida draws out the paradox inherent in ethics as hospitality. Derrida’s deconstruction of ethics as hospitality shows reductive exclusion to be especially pernicious because paradoxically indispensable to any act of hospitality. Finally, by examining popular attitude toward the immigrant and the refugee, I argue that our political tendency toward reductive exclusion—the practice of categorizing and discriminating as an ethical and political necessity—undergird and even promote structural violence against the migrant other.