Methodological Nationalism, Migration and Political Theory

Political Studies, November 2014

18 Pages Posted: 10 May 2016

See all articles by Alex Sager

Alex Sager

Portland State University

Date Written: October 28, 2014


The political theory of migration has largely occurred within a paradigm of methodological nationalism and this has led to the neglect of morally salient agents and causes. This article draws on research from the social sciences on the transnationalism, globalization and migration systems theory to show how methodological nationalist assumptions have affected the views of political theorists on membership, culture and distributive justice. In particular, it is contended that methodological nationalism has prevented political theorists of migration from addressing the roles of non-state agents and of transnational economic, social and political structures. These agents and structures contribute to the asymmetrical distribution of goods and opportunities and thus have important implications for debates about migration and distributive justice.

JEL Classification: Migration, Political Theory, Methodological Nationalism, Distributive Justice, Culture

Suggested Citation

Sager, Alexander, Methodological Nationalism, Migration and Political Theory (October 28, 2014). Political Studies, November 2014 , Available at SSRN:

Alexander Sager (Contact Author)

Portland State University ( email )

PO Box 751
Portland, OR 97207
United States

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