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Globalization, international mobility and the liberal international order.

  • Academic Journal
  • International affairs [Int Aff] 2021 Sep 06; Vol. 97 (5), pp. 1559-1577. Date of Electronic Publication: 2021 Sep 06 (Print Publication: 2021).
  • English
  • Since the Second World War, globalization has been underpinned by a liberal international order, a rules-based system structured around the principles of economic interdependence, democracy, human rights and multilateralism. However, the relationship between international mobility and the liberal international order (LIO) is contested. In the article, I disaggregate 'international mobility' into three regimes: the travel regime, the voluntary (labour) migration regime, and the refugee regime-each governed by distinct norms and operating procedures. I outline the characteristics of the LIO that pertain to international mobility and provide evidence to demonstrate that none of the three dimensions of international mobility-travel, migration, and asylum-reflects these characteristics. Given the LIO principles enumerated above, the exclusion of international mobility from the LIO is surprising. I survey the scholarship on the LIO and international mobility and argue that the exclusion of international mobility from the LIO rests on benefits provided to core states by the status quo ante governing international mobility. That is, the status quo ante permits countries of destination to determine the level and type of cross-border mobility. Thus, international mobility continues to be underpinned by the play of state preferences rather than the principles of the LIO. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to shape these norms and operating procedures in ways that reinforce the status quo.
    (© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Institute of International Affairs. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
Additional Information
Publisher: The Royal Institute of International Affairs Country of Publication: England NLM ID: 100968191 Publication Model: eCollection Cited Medium: Print ISSN: 0020-5850 (Print) Linking ISSN: 00205850 NLM ISO Abbreviation: Int Aff Subsets: PubMed not MEDLINE
Original Publication: London, The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Keywords: human rights; international institutions; international migration; international political economy; liberalism
Date Created: 20211013 Latest Revision: 20211013