Dr Luis Cabrera

Department of Political Science and International Studies

Contact details

Luis Cabrera is Associate Professor at Griffith Business School, Austrailia. Contact Details for Associate Professor Luis Cabrera.


MA, PhD University of Washington (Seattle)


Luis Cabrera’s research has focused on institutional changes above the nation-state to promote the protection of human rights. His most recent book, The Practice of Global Citizenship (Cambridge University Press 2010), seeks to identify the universal human duties that correspond to individual economic and political rights. His theoretical claims were informed by extensive field work at sites of intense unauthorised immigration in the United States, Mexico, and Western Europe.

The book was awarded the inaugural Yale H. Ferguson prize by the International Studies Association-Northeast. The U.S.-based association established the prize to recognize the work each year ‘that most advances the vibrancy of international studies as a pluralist discipline’.

His 2004 book, Political Theory of Global Justice, offered an argument based in distributive justice for democratically accountable political integration above the state, up to some form of fully global government. His current book project, The Possibility of Global Political Community, seeks to identify best practices for suprastate democracy through giving fine-grained attention to democracy under conditions of deep diversity in such states as India, and within the European Union.

Before turning to academics full time, Dr. Cabrera worked as a staff reporter for The Associated Press in Seattle (USA), covering criminal justice issues, politics, the anti-corporate-globalisation movement, the Seattle music scene, and the NBA Seattle SuperSonics. He is an associate staff member of Birmingham’s Centre for the Study of Global Ethics


Dr Cabrera teaches undergraduate and MA courses in Global Ethics, exploring the ethical implications of such border-spanning issues as poverty, immigration, democratic governance, gender, armed intervention, global citizenship and global institutions. He currently serves as Undergraduate Admissions Director and can be contacted for information about POLSIS degrees.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr. Cabrera is happy to supervise students in any area of global ethics/global justice, as well as democratic theory, human rights, and citizenship and immigration ethics.


Research interests

  • The ethics of global poverty
  • Global citizenship
  • Immigration and justice
  • Democratic rule beyond the nation state
  • Justice and international institutions
  • The European Union as a possible model for broader integration

Current and recent projects

  • The Possibility of Global Political Community: Current book project exploring democracy under conditions of deep diversity. Considers whether best practices from deeply multinational societies such as India, as well as regional projects such as the European Union, can inform proposals for broader, even fully global, efforts toward shared rule. Original qualitative field work informs the ethical and theoretical claims offered.
  • The Practice of Global Citizenship (Cambridge University Press, 2010): This work focuses on individual human duties that correspond to widely promoted principles of human rights. It argues for a conception of global citizenship in which all individuals have duties to contribute to the global protection of economic and political rights, to advocate rights-enhancing integration between states, and to appropriately accommodate the changes in their own lives that could result, eg, accommodating freer movement of individuals across borders. The book’s theoretical claims are informed by extensive field work among immigration activists, both pro and con, in the U.S. Southwest, as well as with unauthorised immigrants, activists and authorities in Mexico, Spain, Belgium, the UK and Ireland.
  • Global Governance, Global Government: Institutional Visions for an Evolving World System (SUNY Press, 2011): This edited volume is a contribution to the recent resurgence in rigorous theorizing about global government. It brings together prominent International Relations scholars, economists and political theorists who have explored trends toward full global integration, as well as possible reasons to advocate it. It also includes contributions from those who are highly skeptical of any proposals for full integration but recommend the creation or reform of specific institutions to achieve gains in trans-state justice.
  • The Ethics of Microfinance: This edited volume is one output of the Microfinance Research Network project of the University of Birmingham’s Centre for the Study of Global Ethics. The network has brought together globally prominent economists, philosophers and practitioners of microfinance to explore the ethical implications of current practice in this increasingly widespread development approach. Dr Cabrera is co-editor of the volume with project leader Professor Tom Sorell.

Other activities

Other professional appointments

  • Arizona State University, 2002-07. Assistant Professor of Political Science.


Cabrera, L. "Individual Rights and the Democratic Boundary Problem." Full text at: http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/1655/

Pogge, T., and Cabrera, L. 2012. "Outreach, Impact, Collaboration: Why Academics Should Join to Stand Against Poverty." Ethics & International Affairs 26(2). http://eprints.bham.ac.uk/1159/

Cabrera, L. 2011. “Migration, the Brain Drain and Individual Opportunities in Gillian Brock’s Global Justice.” Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetorichttp://www.theglobaljusticenetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/5.GJN4_CABRERA.pdf

Cabrera, L., ed. (2011) Global Governance / Global Government: Institutional Visions for an Evolving World System. (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press).  http://www.sunypress.edu/p-5159-global-governance-global-govern.aspx

Cabrera, L. (2010) The Practice of Global Citizenship (Cambridge University Press).  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Practice-Global-Citizenship-Luis-Cabrera/dp/0521128102

Cabrera, L. (2010) “Underground Railroads: Entitlements and Unauthorized Mobility in the Antebellum Period and Today,” Journal of Global Ethics 6(3).  http://eprints.bham.ac.uk/725/ 

Cabrera, L. (2010) “World Government: Renewed Debate, Persistent Challenges,” European Journal of International Relations 16(3): 511-30.

Cabrera, L. and Glavac, S. (2010) “Minutemen and Desert Samaritans: Mapping the Attitudes of Activists on the Immigration Front Lines,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36(4): 673-95.

Cabrera, L. (2009) “An Archaeology of Borders: Qualitative Political Theory as a Tool in Addressing Moral Distance,” Journal of Global Ethics 5(2): 109-23. http://eprints.bham.ac.uk/1156/

Cabrera, L. (2008) “Global Citizenship as the Completion of Cosmopolitanism,” Journal of International Political Theory 4(1): 84-104. http://www.euppublishing.com.ezproxye.bham.ac.uk/doi/abs/10.3366/E1755088208000104

Cabrera, L. (2007) “The Inconveniences of Transnational Democracy,” Ethics & International Affairs 21(2): 219-38.

Cabrera, L. (2005) “The Cosmopolitan Imperative: Global Justice through Accountable Integration,” The Journal of Ethics 9(1-2): 171-99.

Cabrera, L. (2004) Political Theory of Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Case for the World State (London: Routledge). Softcover version published 2006