My research fields are Political Theory (Major) and Comparative Politics (Minor). My research expertise includes democratic theory, contemporary political theory, and the ethics and politics of migration and borders.
My dissertation focuses on the ethics and politics of international migration, two topics that have been central to both academic and political debates over the last few decades. Most migration scholars think and write almost exclusively about immigration. But most cross-border movement of people is short-term and not with the intent to settle. This has resulted in the underdevelopment of normative theory on the right to travel. My dissertation theorizes and defends a right to travel independent of long-term migration. I address international travel and short-term or circular migration. It includes chapters that argue for a human right to travel, explain that right’s moral and practical limits, and examine the normative implications of such a right for democratic politics.
The Open Borders Debate, Migration as Settlement, and the Right to Travel
Recently accepted at the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Co-authors: Ugur Altundal and Rick Valelly.
This peer‐reviewed article in Oxford Bibliographies is a reference resource, an annotated bibliography, on democratic citizenship.
The Idea of Individual in Political Liberalism: A Critical Perspective
Co-authors: Mehmet Kocaoglu and Ugur Altundal
Abstract: It is difficult to say that there is a consensus on how to situate the individual within a society in liberal theory. The individual is regarded as an agent that looks out for her own personal interest and is a part of the social cooperation in liberal theory. Political liberalism is one of the attempts that tries to place the individual within a society. This paper focuses on how political liberalism places the individual within a society. The purpose of the study is to explain how political liberalism situates the individual as an agent that looks out for her own interest and plays an important role in the social cooperation. Firstly, it focuses on how the individual and society are placed in political liberalism. Secondly, by taking into consideration the criticism which emphasizes that political liberalism leads to an understanding of the individual as one who is detached from the society, we explore the nature of the relationship that depends on interaction, communication, and cooperation between the individual and society in political liberalism. Thirdly, we discuss the effects of the distinction between public and private spheres on the individual in political liberalism. Lastly, it is argued that political liberalism neither detaches the individual from the society nor fictionalizes the society that ends the autonomy of the individual but rather proctects the autonomy and separateness of individual.
Key Words: Individual, Rights, Liberty, Autonomy, Political Liberalism
Regime Change within Defective Democracies: Turkey in the Early 1990s and 2010s
While democratization studies have been revived after the so-called “third wave” of democratization and “the Arab Spring” recently, the failure of some countries to transition to a functioning democracy has raised important questions. Recent scholarship, accordingly, has mainly focused on understanding “hybrid regimes.” Although some autocratic governments undergo important regime changes, empirical studies demonstrate that they are not necessarily replaced by democratic systems. Such cases help proliferate alternative conceptual studies through a balance between analytic differentiation and conceptual validity. Democracy-with- adjectives, which enables different typologies, is a critical tool to compare and grasp the regime attributes of different cases and/or the regime attributes of the same case across different periods.
By examining the case of Turkey in two periods — 1990s and 2010s—those theoretical distinctions can become meaningful. The tutelary features of the regime in the early years of the republic have almost disappeared in 2010s; however, the “distance to democracy” is still questionable compared to early 1990s. I argue that the decline of the tutelary powers of the military has not led a “more democratic” regime in Turkey. In contrast, it enabled the executive branch to have a privileged position. This unexpected outcome also shows the complexity of political interactions, which requires a more careful political analysis.
Altundal, Ugur. “Review of Nazli Avdan’s Visas and Walls: Border Security in the Age of Terrorism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), in Political Science Quarterly (2020).