Right of Entry or Right of Refusal? Hospitality in the Law of Nature and Nations
This chapter engages the idea of a law of hospitality which was articulated in the natural law tradition from Francisco de Vitoria in the early sixteenth century to Immanuel Kant in the late eighteenth — Kant’s being the last significant contribution to this tradition. It argues that the account of hospitality in the ‘law of nations’ provided by this early modern tradition of thought was bounded by two poles — right of communication and right of property — which, while mutually constitutive of a law of hospitality, also continually threatened to unravel it. While any law of hospitality requires that travellers have rights to hospitable treatment, it also depends upon their hosts having some claim to exclusive property in their domains or territories. The tension between these two irreducible poles of hospitality, a feature of hospitality that Jacques Derrida has demonstrated in quite other contexts, is, it is argued, an enduring feature of otherwise very different accounts of the law of hospitality in the early modern natural law tradition.1 Three of the natural lawyers who consider hospitality in some detail, namely Vitoria, Grotius and Vattel (Vitoria and Vattel are the focus of the first section), make little headway in stabilising the two poles of right of communication — right of property in hospitality, despite tending towards different poles (Vitoria towards right of communication and Vattel towards right of property).
Hospitality and World Politics
Political Theory and Political Philosophy