Elsewhere an Immigrant:
How Rights of Settlement and Migration are Established through Conflict and Convention
M. P. Ross
Who belongs where? 2008 found me standing in disputed territory, where each party claimed the rights to the same land. As history amply documents for the many similar disputes, through words and war each side tries to make their case. Does either or both have legitimate claims, and who is the rightful occupant? It would be easy to choose sides, to confirm biases and reward allies. That may offer a measure of immediate satisfaction, but little in the way of a satisfactory answer, while still failing to resolve the conflict. I sought a universal explanation that would apply in all cases, of any scope and scale, from the individual to states and empires. What finally rose to the surface was the principle that is the central concept of this book.
Rights of Settlement and Migration are established through Conflict and Convention is the general principle of political theory that describes what occurs whenever a place or its resources is claimed by two or more parties. It provides a new, uniquely succinct and comprehensive explanation for one of the most fundamental features of human existence. “Man is native to Africa, and is elsewhere an immigrant.” Migration, settlement, and conflict over territory form an enduring pattern that has been with us from our emergence as a species to the present. All peoples over the course of history are the products of cultural evolution that unfolds within the parameters of the principle the book introduces. Every people has a narrative that explains and justifies it to itself and the outside world. Yet, the question of who belongs where continually seeks resolution through war and diplomacy.
Elsewhere an Immigrant makes the point that once humankind ventured out of our real or mythological Eden, we all became immigrants. If not immigrants ourselves, then we are the products of immigration, or potential immigrants when outside our current place of habitation for whatever purposes of travel, trade, or conquest. Dispute and agreement over the rights to a place are inevitable, impacting each and all. This book addresses the need to make sense of this phenomenon, to comprehend what necessarily occurs with the aim of offering practical means for dealing with it. It begins with the underlying theory, its uses, implications, and its limitations, then applies it as the framework for understanding different examples: the special case of enclaves; at the level of state and empire, with the modern Turkish Republic from its origins on the steppes of Inner Asia; at the level of individuals and small groups, with the Johnson County War in late 19th century Wyoming; and applied to resources, with the early 20th century water war between Los Angeles County and the Owens Valley.
The book is currently a first draft, seeking publication. Maps and other supporting data are not yet included. Following is a synopsis of each chapter. It is hoped that readers will gain a working understanding of the concepts presented, and be able to apply them to their own relevant examples.
Chapter 1 Origins: Out of Eden into Society Summary
Chapter 2 Theory and Practice Summary
Chapter 3 The Folly of the Pure Model Summary
Chapter 4 Enclaves Summary
Chapter 5 State and Empire: The Road to Ankara Summary
Chapter 6 The Johnson County War Part I Summary
Chapter 7 The Johnson County War Part II Summary
Chapter 8 Resources Summary
Chapter 9 Title TBD Summary