Papers | Articles



Migration and the critique of ‘state thought’: Abdelmalek Sayad as a political theoristEuropean Journal of Political Theory, online first

This paper argues for reading the Algerian-French sociologist Abdelmalek Sayad (1933–1998) as a political theorist of migration. Various contributions have recently called to move away from the court-like assessment of claims by host states and foreigners and to engage more frankly with empirical work more attentive to concrete experiences and power relations. I contend that Sayad’s sociological work constitutes a substantial empirical and normative resource for ethical and political theory of migration, pointing to the persistence of ‘state thought’ and presenting original normative perspectives on emigration, inclusion in democracy, naturalization or postcolonial relationships. Such a reading of Sayad from a political theory perspective would then constitute a prime example of the cross-fertilization of empirical and normative approaches.

Representing Non-Citizens: A Proposal for the Inclusion of All Affected Interests, accepted for publication in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy

This article defends the normative relevance of the representation of non-citizens in democracies. I argue that representation within nation-states constitutes a realistic institutionalisation of the All-Affected Principle, allowing justificatory practices towards non-citizens and establishing political institutions that can realise the ideal of inclusion of all externally affected individuals. I defend electoral, non-electoral and surrogate forms of representation of affected interests that satisfy both the cosmopolitan concern for the equal consideration of interests and the statist defence of the importance of a territorially and civically bounded demos. I assess piecemeal implementations of representation practices, namely reciprocal representation, ombudspersons, self-appointed representatives and deliberative and advocacy groups. Gradual and pluralised means of representation constitute necessary and feasible first steps to consider affected interests and offer an alternative route to an all-or-nothing defence of inclusion as national enfranchisement.

Beyond the Welcoming Rhetoric: Hospitality as a Principle of Care for the Displaced
Essays in Philosophy, 22(1/2), 2021, pp. 85-101

The concept of hospitality has seen a strong revival in the literature on migration and among pro-migrant activists. However, its meaning, its scope, and the nature of the obligations it imposes remain contested. Open-border advocates see hospitality as a moral principle of openness that should trump nationalist arguments for closure, while nationalists tap into the home analogy and compare the state to a household welcoming migrants as guests, whose stay should accordingly be temporary and marked by gratitude. Some consider hospitality a virtue that should translate into a personal responsibility to open one’s doors to others, while some politicise the concept to apply it to borders and state duties towards migrants. This paper unpacks the various literal and metaphorical meanings of the age-old concept of hospitality, and the shortcomings of its rhetorical uses. It then argues for a conception of hospitality as a principle of care towards displaced people. Hospitality alleviates ordinary obstacles that prevent a functional life in a new environment and allows for home-making practices. It is triggered by the vulnerability created by displacement, i.e., the material, emotional and political harms resulting from the loss of a home.

(with Hans Leaman and Max Scholz) Sacred Welcomes: How Religious Reasons, Structures, and Interactions Shape Refugee Advocacy and Settlement
Migration and Society, 4(1), 2021, pp. 100-109

This special section explores the role of religious ideas and religious asso- ciations in shaping the response of states and non-state actors to asylum-seekers and refugees. It brings together insights from anthropology, law, history, and political the- ory to enrich our understanding of how religious values and resources are mobilized to respond to refugees and to circumvent usual narratives of secularization. Exam- ining these questions within multicultural African, European, and North American contexts, the special section argues that religion provides moral reasons and structural support to welcome and resettle refugees, and constitutes a framework of analysis to better understand the social, legal, and political dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in contexts of migration.

Migration and the Duty of Hospitality: A Genealogical Sketch
Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration, 4(2), 2020, pp. 257-274

Hospitality is usually defined as a benevolent act towards strangers. The concept has seen a revival during the ‘European migrant crisis’, as a humanitarian duty inspired by ancient traditions and natural empathy. This narrative is unsatisfy-ing because it depoliticizes hospitality, homogenizes its historical meanings and neglects to take seriously the features of hospitality that are incompatible with modern politics. In order to redefine the concept of hospitality for contemporary issues, it is necessary to understand precisely what hospitality has meant throughout its different historical and philosophical instantiations and what kind of political problems it was supposed to address. This article offers a genealogy of the various political features of hospitality and distinguishes four sources of it: the ancient relation of dependence, the politics of ritualized hospitality, the medieval and Christian roots of hospitality as charity and its emergence as a natural right. Then, I argue for a reconstruction of the political meaning of hospitality for contemporary migration issues, based on practical mobilizations of the concept. I define modern hospitality as the collective obligation to relieve distress caused by crossing borders.

What is political theory for?
Raisons politiques, n°64, 2016, pp. 7-27

In this paper, the author argues that political theory should be part of political science, especially in France where political theory is largely undermined and underrepresented. He begins with an analysis of the job market for political theorists, showing the disproportion between the number of “qualified” (by the National Council of Universities) young doctors in political theory and the number of positions. He then poses the problem of the usefulness of political theory, both for other social sciences and society in general, and argues that the legitimacy of political theory comes from the fulfillment of four essential functions: heuristic, educational, critical, and ethical.

The wager of political hospitality: Introduction to themed articles
Hospitality and Society, vol.5, n°2-3, 2015, pp. 167-172

In this article I present a political analysis of hospitality, underlining the power relations that are involved with its practice. Because hospitality is consubstantial with boundaries, it is an apparatus both to welcome and control, which allows the passage of outsiders while legitimating the separation between inside and outside. Thus, the philosophical debate surrounding hospitality appears less relevant than the evaluation of the reasons why it matters to choose policies that involve hospitality. This wager maintains that inclusion – and participation of those included – is the bedrock of both hospitality and democracy.

A Political Anthropology of Hospitality
La Revue du M.A.U.S.S., n°40, 2012, pp. 267-284

This article seeks to define hospitality through its ritual practices so as to highlight its political meaning and function. Four features of hospitality may be drawn from ethnographic and anthropological accounts: the creation of a social relationship prior to practices of gift and counter-gift, the management and control of outsiders, and the classification of belonging. Largely neglected, considered to be “pre-political” and subsumed within the paradigm of sharing, hospitality nonetheless constitutes the first relationship of a political community with others such as foreigners or other outside communities. Shared by traditional societies and contemporary democracies alike, the recurrent problem of demarcating and legitimizing the community is the essential meaning of hospitality as an object of political theory.

The Crossing of the Political: Derrida and Ricœur between the Purity of Philosophy and the Tragic Dimension of Action
Raisons politiques, n°45, 2012, pp. 211-233

In this paper I compare and critically examine the political thought of Paul Ricœur and Jacques Derrida. I analyze their specific styles of combining philosophy, ethical thinking, and political theory. Despite their proximity on certain issues, and their shared mistrust of purely procedural and liberal definitions of politics, they deeply disagree on the meaning of justice and sovereignty. The ethical excess resulting from the unconditional nature of Derrida’s “event” is radically opposed to Ricœur’s concern for the “institution” and social cohesion. The concept of hospitality, tackled late in the careers of both writers, illustrates this opposition. Finally, I argue for a political theory approach to Derrida while calling for a cautious use of his primarily philosophical concepts.


Migration ethics and political science: Bringing empirical and normative inquiries together
In Johanna Gördemann, Andreas Niederberger, and Uchenna Okeya (ads), Handbook of Migration Ethics, Springer (expected publication date 2022)

This chapter discusses the position of migration ethics within political science. The epistemological and methodological commitments of political science seem to prevent it from including ethical considerations, or to fully acknowledge the normative grounds and framing of the empirical work. The role of ethics, morality, values or even more generally, ideas in explaining migration patterns and behaviour, appears small or irrelevant. However, various attempts to bridge the gap between political science and migration ethics have been made. I identify four strategies that have been adopted: drawing policy recommendations based on ethical standards from an empirical analysis; fact-checking of migration ethics and norm-checking of the political science of migration; considering moral values, especially as a causal determinant in policy making; studying values empirically. Finally, I argue that pragmatist approaches, bridging empirical and normative inquiries are necessary to do justice to the multifaceted nature of migration issues.

Hospitality in Sanctuary Cities
In Sharon M. Meagher, Samantha Noll, Joseph S. Biehl (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the City, Routledge, 2019, pp. 279-290

Cities use the daily management of migration as an opportunity to take an ethical stance toward migrants in need of protection from deportation or harassment. They become places of “sanctuary.” This chapter explores how sanctuary practices transform the normative ideal of the city and how they renew our traditional concepts of sovereignty, citizenship, and hospitality toward migrants. I first define what is meant by “city of refuge,” analyzing the context in which Jacques Derrida attempted to reevaluate the link between the city and hospitality. Then, I consider the actual practices of sanctuary cities and argue that they aim at protecting migrants and legitimizing the power and influence of cities. I finally show how sanctuary movements participate in the implementation of human rights and the extension of the concepts of hospitality and citizenship, and suggest an alternative to justice-based motivations to act: Sanctuary and hospitality are opportunities for citizens to exercise virtue beyond what justice requires them (not) to do. I conclude by addressing some criticisms, while defending sanctuary practices as an overarching project of making sanctuary cities communities of interest among citizens and non-citizens.

Language proficiency and migration: An argument against testing (with A. v. Busekist)
In M. Gazzola, T. Templin, B.-A. Wickström, Language Policy and Linguistic Justice: Economic, Philosophical and Sociolinguistic Approaches, Berlin, Springer, 2018, p. 189-208

This paper aims at questioning the rationale for language testing in immigration policies. Although we consider knowledge of the host country’s language(s) useful and desirable for both the migrant and the host society, we argue that mandatory language testing cannot be justified. Our purpose is to offer justifications for rejecting language as a legitimate tool for controlling state borders and to regulate (access to) citizenship of a liberal democracy.


Religion and Refugees, Migration and Society, 4(1), 2021

Hospitality Now (!), Hospitality and Society, vol. 5 (2-3), 2015


An Urban Turn in the Ethics of Migration? Review of Avner de Shalit, Cities and Immigrants: Political and Moral Dilemmas in the New Era of Migration, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, Raisons politiques, 79, 2020, pp. 109-121

This book review critically engages with the book of Avner de Shalit, Cities and Imigration: Political and Moral Dilemmas in the New Era of Migration. After a contextualization of the book in a more general urban turn in migration ethics, I present the main developments of the author regarding the autonomy of cities in controlling their borders, the rights to vote and to be elected for foreign residents, and the notion of inclusive city. I discuss the methodology, the normative conditions of each argument and the practical issues for their potential applications.

Review of G. Baker (ed.), Hospitality and World Politics
Hospitality and Society
, 4(2), 2014, pp. 213-215



De la visite à la représentation : poursuivre le projet cosmopolitique
Lignes, n°60, 2019, pp. 149-162

« Pourquoi n’accueillez-vous pas des migrants chez vous? » Définir le devoir d’hospitalité [« Why don’t you welcome migrants into your home? » Defining the duty of hospitality], Revue du MAUSS, n°53, 2019, pp. 291-307

La durée des frontières [Borders in time]
Esprit, n°446, juillet-août 2018, pp. 113-121

De la ville-refuge aux sanctuary cities : l’idéal de la ville comme territoire d’hospitalité [From the city of refuge to sanctuary cities: the ideal of the city as a hospitable territory]
Territoire, n°21, 2018, pp. 83-89

Au nom de l’hospitalité: les enjeux d’une rhétorique morale en politique [In the name of hospitality: A moral rhetoric in politics]
Cités, n°68, 2016, pp. 31-46

A l’épreuve de l’altérité radicale: une expérience de pensée [Facing radical alterity: A thought experiment]
Le Philosophoire, n°46, 2016, pp. 199-220

Ennemis, hôtes et étrangers : enquête sur les identités politiques grecque et romaine [Enemies, Hosts and Foreigners: Inquiry on the Greek and Roman Political Identities]
Mots. Langages du politique, n°101, 2013, pp. 127-140

Éléments pour une anthropologie politique de l’hospitalité
La Revue du M.A.U.S.S., n°40, 2012, pp. 267-284
🇵🇹 Portugese version in Leandro Benedini Brusadin (ed.), Hospitalidade e dádiva, Curitiba, Prismas, 2017

La traversée du politique : Derrida et Ricœur entre pureté de la philosophie et tragique de l’action
Raisons politiques, n°45, 2012, pp. 211-233


Étranger: la constitution progressive d’une catégorie juridique et statistique [Foreigner: the slow construction of a juridical and statistical category]
In L. Calabrese, M. Veniard, Penser les mots, dire la migration, Louvain-la-Neuve, Pixels, 2018, pp. 91-97

Manger (avec) l’étranger : politique de la commensalité [Eating (with) the stranger : politics of commensality]
In K. Stengel, L. Parizot, Ecrits culinaires : quand les mots se mettent à table, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2016, pp. 127-138

La crise de la vérité comme condition démocratique [The Crisis of Truth as a Democratic Condition]
In M. Chevrier, Y. Couture, S. Vibert (dir.), Démocratie et modernité. Le pensée politique française contemporaine, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2015, pp. 17-31

Une place légitime pour les nouveaux entrants : penser l’hospitalité avec Bruno Latour [A Place for New Entities: Bruno Latour’s Hospitality]
In C. Tollis, L. Creton-Cazanave, B. Aublet (dir.), L’effet Latour – Ses modes d’existence dans les travaux doctoraux, Glyphe, 2014, pp. 59-83


Amitié / Charité / Hospitalité / Xénophobie [Friendship / Charity / Hospitality / Xenophobia]
In G. Origgi (dir.), Passions sociales, Paris, PUF, 2019

Seyla Benhabib
In P. Savidan (dir.), Dictionnaire des inégalités et de la justice sociale, Paris, PUF, 2018

Nationalisme méthodologique / Etrangers (politique) [Methodological nationalism / Foreigners (political)]
In  P. Mbongo et al. (dir.), Dictionnaire encyclopédique de l’État, Paris, Berger-Levrault, 2014


Démocratiser les frontières Lecture critique de Martin Deleixhe, Aux bords de la démocratie. Contrôle des frontières et politique de l’hospitalité
Raisons politiques, 68, 2018

L’hospitalité relève-t-elle de la politique ? Lecture critique de G. Le Blanc, Dedans, dehors. La condition d’étranger & Y. Cusset, Prendre sa part à la misère du monde. Pour une philosophie politique de l’accueil [Book review]
Raisons politiques, n°42, 2011

TRADUCTIONS (Anglais vers le français)

Seyla Benhabib, « Itérations démocratiques et droits de l’Homme cosmopolitiques », in  Frontières justes (à paraître)

Ulrich Beck, « Nationalisme méthodologique – cosmopolitisme méthodologique : un changement de paradigme dans les sciences sociales », Raisons politiques, n°54, 2014

Philip Pettit, « Deux sophismes à propos des personnes morales », Raisons politiques, n°56, 2014

Lisa Disch, « La représentation politique et les effets de subjectivation », Raisons politiques, n°55, 2014


This is the new normal: une critique de la norme d’enduranceEsquisse(s), 16, 2020, pp. 85-89

Vers une éthique du sauvetage [Towards an ethics of rescue], A.O.C Média, 30.08.2019

🇬🇧🇫🇷 Hospitality in Perspective, Hospitality: Searching for common ground, Luma Days 2, 2018, p. 17-23

The solidarity offense in FranceVerfassungsblog-On Matters Constitutional, 06.07.2018

Y a-t-il des frontières légitimes?A.O.C. Média, 20.06.2018

🇬🇧🇫🇷🇮🇹 Hospitality as a political virtue, in M. di Paola (dir.), We Are Here. Gabriele Gandolfo David, Museo Riso/MUCEM, Palerme, Glifo, p. 29-32