PhD Candidate Salina Abji on Post-Nationalism and Migrant Rights

January 23, 2019 by Kathy Tang

In an article published in Citizenship Studies, PhD Graduate Salina Abji analyzes the "No One Is Illegal" migrant rights movement in Canada to explore the limitations and opportunities of a post-nationalist framework. She argues that although post-nationalism is limited in its ability to address the concerns of non-status migrants, the conceptual framework is useful for challenging "normative nationalism" and providing alternative means for political participation and belonging.

Salina Abji obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2016. She is currently a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at Carleton University and her research interests include social activism and the politics of race, gender, and immigration status.

We have posted the citation and abstract of her article below. The full text is available online through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Abji, Salina. 2013. “Post-Nationalism Re-Considered: A Case Study of the ‘No One Is Illegal’ Movement in Canada.” Citizenship Studies, 17(3-4):322-338.

Studies of post-nationalism have declined considerably among citizenship scholars in recent decades, and have been largely ignored by social movement scholars in favour of more trans-national approaches. Using a case analysis of a migrant rights movement in Canada as evidence of a ‘post-national ethics in practice’, in this article I argue for a re-consideration of the usefulness of post-nationalism within current scholarship on precarious immigration status. Taking into account both the limitations and opportunities afforded by a post-national ethical framework, I examine how the movement uses a human rights framing in distinct ways to mobilize constituents, garner mainstream media attention, and effect changes to policy at the national and local level. My findings suggest that the use of human rights frames for these movements offers both risks and rewards; however, the benefits may outweigh the risks in cases in which the quality of exposure within mainstream narratives is enough to disrupt, even if momentarily, the pervasiveness of normative nationalism, opening up new spaces for reconfiguring citizenship at the local level.

Read the full article here.