Banishment and the Pre-History of Legitimate Expulsion Power

Seminar/Forum

Banishment and the Pre-History of Legitimate Expulsion Power

In the introduction of a recent work on the denationalization of terrorists across the West, the legal scholar Audrey Macklin announced that 'after decades in exile, banishment is back' (Macklin 2015). Over the last decade, as new laws allowing individuals to be stripped of citizenship have sprung across liberal democratic states, many others have also analogised denationalization to this medieval practice. In this talk, I explore not why banishment has returned, or the consequences of its revival, but why it went away in the first place. Before the twentieth century, the expulsion of individual offenders, typically citizens or settled residents as punishment, was in everyday use across Europe. Banishment’s ubiquity and frequency reflected a widespread and deeply ingrained view that membership and continued presence in political society was contingent upon behaviour that adhered to the law and dominant societal norms. The historical rootedness of banishment, as well as its putative revival, make it important to understand the twists and turns of this practice over the (very) longue durée. This seminar will attempt to answer three questions: first, how are citizenship and banishment interrelated historically? Second, why did banishment fall out of fashion at the end of the eighteenth century? Third, what are the differences and similarities between modern practices of legitimate expulsion power (like deportation and denationalization) and the historical practice of banishment?

Presenter

  • Professor Matthew Gibney
    Professor Matthew Gibney, University of Oxford