In the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, immigrants called 'metics' (metoikoi) settled in Athens without a path to citizenship. Galvanized by these political realities, classical thinkers cast a critical eye on the nativism defining democracy's membership rules and explored the city's anxieties over intermingling and passing. Yet readers continue to treat immigration and citizenship as separate phenomena of little interest to theorists writing at the time. In The Perpetual Immigrant and the Limits of Athenian Democracy, Demetra Kasimis makes visible the long-overlooked centrality of immigration to the originary practices of democracy and political theory in Athens. She dismantles the interpretive and political assumptions that have led readers to turn away from the metic and reveals the key role this figure plays in such texts as Plato's Republic. The result is a series of original readings that boldly reframes urgent questions about how democracies order their non-citizen members.
Table of Contents
Part I. Autochthony Trouble: 1. The metic in and out of theory; 2. Immigrant passing in Euripides' Ion, the tragedy of blood-based membership; Part II. A Metric Republic in Three Acts: 3. The Republic as a metic space; 4. Plato's open decret; 5. Of mimesis and metic: a reading of democracy in Book VIII; Part III. Evading Detection: 6. Citizen passing in Demosthenes 57: the oration of Athenian blood; Conclusion: political theory from the edges of Athenian democracy; Appendix. A metic timeline.