What Do We Owe to Refugees?
What Do We Owe to Refugees?

Who are refugees? Who, if anyone, is responsible for protecting them? What forms should this protection take? In a world of people fleeing from civil wars, state failure, and environmental disasters, these are ethically and politically pressing questions.

In this book, David Owen reveals how the contemporary politics of refuge is structured by two rival historical pictures of refugees. In reconstructing this history, he advocates an understanding of refugeehood that moves us beyond our current impasse by distinguishing between what is owed to refugees in general and what is owed to different types of refugee. He provides an account of refugee protection and the forms of international cooperation required to implement it that is responsive to the claims of both refugees and states.

At a time when refugee protection is once again prominent on the international agenda, this book offers a guide to understanding the challenges this topic raises and shows why addressing it matters for all of us.

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  • March 2020
  • 140 pages
  • 122 x 191 mm / 5 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509539734
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509539741
  • Open eBook $10.99
  • 9781509539758
Table of Contents
Prologue: A Tale of Two Ships
Picturing Refugees
Who are Refugees?
Responsibility for Refugees
Predicaments of Protection
About the Author
David Owen is Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Southampton
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‘David Owen provides historical, conceptual, principled and practical perspectives on questions about refugees. His book is clear and accessible, but also subtle and sophisticated. It greatly advances our understanding of this important issue.’
Joseph H. Carens, University of Toronto

‘A sparkling introduction to the central ethical issues raised by refugees from a respected philosopher. This work is a major contribution to our understanding of this great challenge of our time.’
Matthew J. Gibney, University of Oxford

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