Research Seminar 13: Irregular Migration as Transformative Politics: Insights from Civil Resistance Theory

Victoria, Canada | April 9, 2019

This seminar was held on April 9th, 2019. It was open to all and hosted both virtually and in-person at the University of Victoria.

This seminar explores rising global challenges of irregular migration from different theoretical perspectives, including from migration studies, borders studies, citizenship studies, and civil resistance studies. Michael Carpenter argue that civil resistance theory in particular offers a framework for understanding the action dynamics of irregular migration as a catalyst for social change, generating conditions for more global citizenship, as other popular movements in history have expanded the boundaries of political inclusion – from below, often at great cost, and usually in defiance of prevailing interests and expectations.


Michael J. Carpenter. 2017. “Civil Resistance Theory I: Unarmed Action,” in Unarmed and Participatory: Palestinian Popular Struggle and Civil Resistance Theory. University of Victoria. Doctoral thesis: 29-54.

Michael J. Carpenter. 2019. “Popular Struggle Against the Wall,” in Palestinian Popular Struggle: Unarmed and Participatory. New York: Routledge: 61-88.

Celikates, Robin. 2018. “Constituent power beyond exceptionalism: Irregular migration, disobedience, and (re)constitution.” Journal of International Political Theory, 15(1): 67-81. DOI: 10.1177/1755088218808311

Discussion Lead: Michael J. Carpenteris a Post-Doctoral Fellow working on a project titled, “Beyond ‘Irregular Migration’: Civil Disobedience without Borders”. In addition to his fellowship, Michael also serves as a founding member and current Managing Editor of the Borders in Globalization Review. Michael has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Victoria (2017) and a Master of Arts in Social and Political Thought from the University of Regina (2009). His research interests include borders, Middle East politics, global politics, civil resistance, non-state governance, and the history of social and political thought. He recently completed two publications based on his doctoral research, a monograph titled Palestinian Popular Struggle: Unarmed and Participatory, and a chapter called “Peace Process without the People: Sidelining Popular Struggle in Palestine” for an edited volume called the History of World Peace Since 1750 (both Routledge, forthcoming). He lived for six months in the occupied West Bank, including three months of field research in 2013-2014. At the University of Victoria, he was a Graduate Student Fellow with the Centre for Global Studies from 2014 to 2016, and he taught several courses for the Department of Political Science.

Research Seminar 13: Irregular Migration as Transformative Politics: Insights from Civil Resistance Theory