Moral visions of sanctuary across the great divides in contemporary political philosophy

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2 Citations (Scopus)


What are the most important conceptions of ‘sanctuary’ in relation to citizenship and community, and how do today’s sanctuary cities engage with such lines of thinking? This paper examines the moral visions underlying and animating many of today's sanctuary cities in the United States in order to illustrate how local communities have adopted a combination of liberal, communitarian and cosmopolitan perspectives in social and political philosophy. By tracing the recent history of the sanctuary cities movement and examining current public discourses among community leaders and activists in several leading sanctuary cities, the analysis shows how the idea of ‘sanctuary’ works across principles of individual freedom and human rights as emblematic within liberalism, notions of solidarity, social trust and local self-determination in communitarianism, and aspirations for shared responsibility and the advancement of human dignity as found in cosmopolitanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-286
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Economics,Econometrics and Finance
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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