Lauren Martin of the University of Oulu reviews Rightlessness in an Age of Rights: Hannah Arendt and the Contemporary Struggles of Migrants by Ayten Gündoğu. Human rights promise equal personhood regardless of citizenship status, yet their existing formulations are tied to the principle of territorial sovereignty. This situation leaves various categories of migrants in a condition of “rightlessness,” with a very precarious legal, political, and human standing. Gündoğu examines this problem in the context of immigration detention, deportation, and refugee camps. Critical of the existing system of human rights without seeing it as a dead end, she argues for the need to pay closer attention to the political practices of migrants who challenge their condition of rightlessness and propose new understandings of human rights. Rightlessness in an Age of Rights is a valuable addition to the literature on Hannah Arendt and a vital way of rethinking human rights as they relate to contemporary issues of immigration.
Read the book review at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/imre.12279/full