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Borders and Hospitality


Politiste, chercheur à l’institut Max Planck et auteur de deux ouvrages parus récemment : Politique de l’hospitalité. Une généalogie conceptuelle, paru en 2017, CNRS éditions et Le dilemme des frontières. Ethique et politique de l’immigration, paru en 2018, Editions de l’EHESS.

Conference/debate with Benjamin Boudou, political scientist and researcher at the Max Planck institute.

In light of the very rich news environment regarding the management of migration flows, the consequences of the control exerted over borders and the linkages of humanitarians to such mechanisms, we exchanged on the legitimacy of borders along with the uses of the notion of hospitality. Despite constant exposure to the political and news cycles, we have at MSF, very few occasions to delve into conceptual tools and reasoning offered by political science and philosophy. This encounter was the occasion to discuss and debate familiar notions and give them a deeper layer of understanding.

Benjamin Boudou is the author of two books recently published: Politique de l’hospitalité. Une généalogie conceptuelle, 2017, CNRS éditions and Le dilemme des frontières. Ethique et politique de l’immigration, 2018, Editions de l’EHESS.

Through the study of different types of hospitality (savage, antic, sacred, cosmo-political), Benjamin Boudou explores in his first book, the political dimension of the concept. Hospitality is not only a private virtue, but also a political practice aiming at the integration or inclusion of the foreigner, on which the rules of borders are built. These power and domination relations lead Benjamin Boudou, in his second book to question the legitimacy of borders, and to think about their democratization rather than their opening – in the sense that it goes hand in hand with democratic values.

Table of contents

  • Introduction. Relying on political theory to reflect on borders and hospitality.
  • Part 1. Rethink categories, attempting to reduce the gap between norms and practices. 
  • Part 2. Examining the arguments in favor of closing borders. 
  • Part 3. Hospitality. Virtues and pitfalls of an ambiguous notion. 
  • Part 4. Freedom of movement, freedom of freedoms? 
  • Part 5. Equality. Towards the democratic inclusion of migrants
  • Question 1. Helping the reflection for MSF or citizens?
  • Question 2. Movement of persons and municipal power
  • Question 3. Opening the democratic community to migrants? How and how far do we go?
  • Question 4. The place of the researcher in the democratic debate
  • Question 5. Fundamental rights in the face of logics of power
  • Question 6. Hospitality, identity and relationship to others 
  • Question 7.  The trap of « integration » 
  • Question 8. The border dilemma, a Human Rights crisis? 
  • Question 9. Discussing borders and hospitality, fine, but at what scale? 


To cite this content :
Benjamin Boudou, Borders and Hospitality, 26 November 2018, URL : https://msf-crash.org/en/conferences-debates/borders-and-hospitality

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