Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Alterities of global citizenship: education, human rights, and everyday bordering

Swanson, D. M.; Gamal, Mostafa


Mostafa Gamal


Assumptions abound regarding societal embetterment at the heart of global interconnections and the distributions of knowledge through international educational organisations and structures worldwide (Swanson, 2013; 2015). In schools and higher education institutions internationally, the cultivation of global citizenship in students has been at the centre of policy discourses at both institutional and curricular levels. Premised on a hegemonic neoliberal assumption that higher education needs to be “responsive to the requirements and challenges related to the globalization of societies, economy and labour markets” (Kalvemark and Van der Wende, 1997: 19), global citizenship as operationalised within policy and curricular discourses purports to enable students to “compete successfully in an increasingly cosmopolitan world of work by expanding their intercultural and cross-cultural competency” (Haigh, 2014, p.13). Student mobility is one such mechanism that is reputed to enable students to participate in a global knowledge economy by affording them opportunities to establish global connections (Andrade, 2006, Bartram, 2008, Sherry et al., 2008). Yet, in locating the discussion on global citizenship within a broader context of the “securitization” of immigration (Aas, 2011; Huysmans, 2006), crimmigration (Stumpf, 2006), “new mobilities” (Sheller and Urry, 2006) and the ensuing drive to delegitimise the mobility of others, variously constituted as “the refugee, the asylum seeker, the illegal immigrant, or the "non-citizen”, a darker underbelly of the neoliberal strand of globa citizenship is revealed. Tracing its under-acknowledged meanings, this article seeks to open a theoretical space to trouble this notion of global citizenship in respect of some appropriations and applications. The arguments herein seek to recast the dominant view of global citizenship in relational terms by problematising “the margins or point of contact” (Isin, 2002, p.3) between the global citizen and its alterity. Within the operation of relationality, it renders visible the state violence inherent, yet hidden, in this space. It foregrounds sites of violence enacted through an ’immobile infrastructure’ of bordering, and an extant social, political and legal context that legitimises practices such as criminalisation, securitisation, detention, deportation and banishment of the alterities of the global citizen. These bordering ideologies traverse sites and bodies, and become foundational to states of containment as well as everyday life in every sphere. It is asserted, as a consequence, that new political philosophy requires being countenanced around the figure of the refugee rather than the global citizen.


Swanson, D. M., & Gamal, M. (2018). Alterities of global citizenship: education, human rights, and everyday bordering. Justice, Power and Resistance, 2(2), 357-388

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jan 6, 2019
Publication Date 2018-08
Deposit Date Dec 5, 2022
Print ISSN 2398-2764
Electronic ISSN 2635-2338
Publisher Policy Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 2
Pages 357-388
Public URL
Publisher URL