Dignity On Hold – Migration,Time, and Human Rights
Today’s refugee crisis may put irregular migrants’ human dignity on hold due to their waiting. We should, therefore, reflect upon the relationship between time and temporality, on the one hand, and moral status in the case of transnational migration flows, on the other. The question is, then, how temporality preconditions dignity? .
In this talk, and based on Hannah Arendt’s existential notion of ‘the right to have rights’, I present an alternative picture of human dignity. Here, this moral status is grounded in the human condition of ‘natality’, that is, temporality regarding such phenomena as birth, love, and freedom. Hence, I argue that dignity is put on hold as long as humans’ temporal precondition is misrecognized. By doing so, I shed light on so-called ‘migrational temporalities’, namely socially produced prolonged waiting, and how it is encountered, incorporated, and resisted by irregular migrants.
Odin Lysaker is Professor of Ethics at the University of Agder, Norway. His main research interests are ethics, political philosophy, and social philosophy, covering migration and human rights. Lysaker is currently part of the WAIT project (Waiting for an Uncertain Future – The Temporalities of Irregular Migration). Recent publications include “Humanity in Times of Crisis – Hannah Arendt’s Political Existentialism” (in Guttorm Fløistad, ed., Philosophy of Justice, Springer 2014).