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German Law Journal


Migrant labor; Canada


This introduction speaks to one of the questions raised by transnational private regulation: is migration always transnational? One quick answer to this question might be ‘no’. If migration is concerned with the international movement of people, then what has been called the approach of methodological nationalism would force out the ‘trans-­‐’ and always substitute the international. Since methodological nationalism is an approach characterized by an overdue emphasis on states and their external borders as the sole arbiters for what registers as movement, then this answer would not surprise anyone. However, if we do not take a monopolistic approach to borders, where states are all that matters, then we must move beyond a ‘Westphalian’ approach to migration that sees only the interests and concerns of supposedly formally equal, sovereign states. And this movement beyond includes moving beyond the important but not necessarily transformative changes that have taken place in the post-­‐Westphalian system generally, or with respect to migration in particular. For example, our analysis must include the post-­‐ World War II evolution of human rights that has co-­‐evolved with state sovereignty and been tempered by capitalist and post-­‐industrial revolutions and the mutations of ever more flexible forms of citizenship or denizenship. However, when answering the question of whether migration is always transnational in the affirmative, part of what I mean encompasses taking an urban, regional, and territorial approach to migration and the movement of people and peoples.

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