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Selecting by Origin

Selecting by Origin

Ethnic Migration in the Liberal State

Christian Joppke

ISBN 9780674015593

Publication date: 02/28/2005

In a world of mutually exclusive nation-states, international migration constitutes a fundamental anomaly. No wonder that such states have been inclined to select migrants according to their origins. The result is ethnic migration.

But Christian Joppke shows that after World War II there has been a trend away from ethnic selectivity and toward non-discriminatory immigration policies across Western states. Indeed, he depicts the modern state in the crossfire of particularistic and universalistic principles and commitments, with universalism gradually winning the upper hand. Thus, the policies that regulate the boundaries of states can no longer invoke the particularisms that constitute these boundaries and the collectivities residing within them.

Joppke presents detailed case studies of the United States, Australia, Western Europe, and Israel. His book will be of interest to a broad audience of sociologists, political scientists, historians, legal scholars, and area specialists.


  • This is an impressive and important book. Joppke’s analysis ischaracterized by a wealth of empirical detail and nuance (impossible to convey in a short review such as this), yet he never loses sight of the bigger picture and manages to link together a wide range of cases into a coherent argument. Selecting by Origin is at once an exemplary comparative historical analysis and a powerful contribution to theoretical debates about ethnicity in the liberal state.

    —James Hampshire, American Journal of Sociology


  • Christian Joppke is Executive Director/Chair in General Sociology at the University of Bern.

Book Details

  • 344 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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