Going public: Hannah Arendt, immigrant action, and the space of appearance

Cristina Beltran

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    While other theorists have turned to Arendt's analysis of statelessness and superfluity to consider questions of immigration, "illegality," and the status of noncitizens, this essay argues that Arendt's account of labor and her nonconsequentialist account of action offer a richer optic for considering the undocumented in the United States. To explore this claim, this essay constructs an alternate account of the nationwide demonstrations for immigrant rights that occurred in 2006. Rather than defining "success" in terms of replicability or immediate legislative results, the author's analysis of the 2006 protests emphasizes the significance of noncitizens laying claim to the public realm. Considering Michael Warner's concept of counterpublics, the author argues that the demonstrations can be best understood as a moment of initiation and an inaugural performance of the political. Rereading Arendt's notion of animal laborans, the essay concludes by exploring the limitations of noncitizens invoking labor as a way to gain civic standing.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)595-622
    Number of pages28
    JournalPolitical Theory
    Volume37
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 2009

    Fingerprint

    immigrant
    statelessness
    labor
    illegality
    protest
    immigration
    animal
    performance
    Immigrants
    Labor
    Hannah Arendt
    Rereading
    Theorists
    Protest
    Immigration
    Animals
    Optics
    Counterpublics
    Civics
    Inaugural

    Keywords

    • Arendt
    • Freedom
    • Immigration
    • Labor
    • Latinos

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Going public : Hannah Arendt, immigrant action, and the space of appearance. / Beltran, Cristina.

    In: Political Theory, Vol. 37, No. 5, 10.2009, p. 595-622.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Beltran, Cristina. / Going public : Hannah Arendt, immigrant action, and the space of appearance. In: Political Theory. 2009 ; Vol. 37, No. 5. pp. 595-622.
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