Banishment and the Pre-History of Legitimate Expulsion Power

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Room 920
Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street


Guest Speaker: Professor Matthew Gibney, University of Oxford

In the introduction of a recent work on the denationalisation of terrorists across the West, the legal scholar Audrey Macklin announced that 'after decades in exile, banishment is back' (Macklin 2015). Over the last decade, as new laws allowing individuals to be stripped of citizenship have sprung across liberal democratic states, many others have also analogised denationalisation to this medieval practice.

In this talk, Professor Matthew Gibney will explore not why banishment has returned, or the consequences of its revival, but why it went away in the first place. Before the twentieth century, the expulsion of individual offenders, typically citizens or settled residents as punishment, was in everyday use across Europe. Banishment’s ubiquity and frequency reflected a widespread and deeply ingrained view that membership and continued presence in political society was contingent upon behaviour that adhered to the law and dominant societal norms. The historical rootedness of banishment, as well as its putative revival, make it important to understand the twists and turns of this practice over the (very) longue durĂ©e.

This seminar will attempt to answer three questions: first, how are citizenship and banishment interrelated historically? Second, why did banishment fall out of fashion at the end of the eighteenth century? Third, what are the differences and similarities between modern practices of legitimate expulsion power (like deportation and denationalization) and the historical practice of banishment?

Matthew J Gibney is Professor of Politics and Forced Migration at the University of Oxford, Official Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford, and Director of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre. He is also a Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Professor Gibney specialises in the political and ethical issues raised by refugees, citizenship, and migration control. Born in Melbourne, Australia, he was educated at Monash University (BEc (Hons)) and, as a Commonwealth Scholar, at King’s College, University of Cambridge (MPhil; PhD).

He is the author of many scholarly articles, chapters and books, including The Ethics and Politics of Asylum (2004), Globalizing Rights (2003), which has been translated into Italian and Spanish, The Normative, Historical and Political Contours of Deportation (2013) (edited with Bridget Anderson and Emanuela Paoletti) and (with Randall Hansen) Immigration and Asylum (2005), a three volume encyclopedia. His published research has dealt with issues of asylum, deportation, citizenship, globalization, and statelessness and has appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Government and Opposition, Political Studies, JEMS, and Citizenship Studies, as well as several anthologies of influential academic writing in migration studies and in international relations. His next book, Denationalization and the Liberal State, will be published by Cambridge in 2020.