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Episode 25. Anna Stilz on Occupancy Rights

One of the tragic side-effects of the civil war in Syria is that it has produced a mass migration of refugees and other displaced populations. For some, it isn’t even the first time they’ve had to abandon home: The U.N. recently reported that 71,000 Palestinian refugees have fled Syria for Lebanon. This massive reshuffling of populations will pose long-term problems in the region for years to come.

Underlying these problems is the issue of occupancy rights. That, why do we have the right to live in a particular place, and what are we owed when those rights are violated? If the Palestinians have a right of return, what’s the basis of that right? Does it hold the same for second-generation refugees as for first?

Our guest today, Anna Stilz, has a theory of occupancy rights that attempts to settle these questions. Stilz is an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University.

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