‘Giving the Foreigners Citizenship’, or, Machiavelli for Brexiteers
Professor Stuart Hall Building
A long and authoritative philosophical tradition, starting with Aristotle, asserted that cities have to be especially careful with foreigners, granting them citizenship only in exceptional cases, because the afflux of newcomers risks resulting in a threat to political concord and harmony. Against this opinion, in his Discourses on Livy Machiavelli offered a completely different reasoning: modern states should follow the model of Rome instead, where subjected populations and immigrants from abroad were constantly incorporated into the civic body, making the republic stronger, even if this process inevitably fuelled social conflicts. A lesson that is still valid today?
Gabriele Pedullà is associate professor of Italian Literature at the University of Roma Tre and has been visiting professor at Stanford, UCLA, the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon), and Harvard. He is the author of In Broad Daylight: Movies and Spectators after the Cinema, Machiavelli in Tumult, and the novel Lame [Blades].