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Rights of Passage: The Passport in International Relations

Mark B. Salter
Rights of Passage: The Passport in International Relations
ISBN: 978-1-58826-145-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-012-8
2003/195 pages/LC: 2003041368

"A lucid and engaging analysis of an important phenomenon."—Choice

"An engaging book on a fascinating and under-studied topic."—Peter Andreas, Brown University

"Interesting and innovative.... Salter's book is well conceived and well written, thorough, and highly relevant to the present circumstances at work in world politics."—James N. Rosenau, George Washington University


From the fourteenth century to the twenty-first, the passport has been one of the essential means of identification—and control—of peoples in the international system. Despite predictions that it would soon become an anachronism, it continues to be a central feature of international relations. Mark Salter’s narrative of the history of the passport adds a vital perspective to the understanding of world politics.

Rights of Passage explores shifting notions of sovereignty, citizenship, and identity, as well as changing concerns with issues of race, class, gender, and nation. Ranging from such topics as health, war, and migration to the current mood of vigilant surveillance, the book sheds new light on the role of borders in the age of globalization.


Mark B. Salter is assistant professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. He is author of Barbarians and Civilisation in International Relations.


  • Introduction: A Body, a Soul, and a Passport.
  • Passports, Violence, and International Society.
  • Health and the Body Politic.
  • Passports and International Society.
  • The Disappearance of Passports.
  • Borders, Frontiers, and Formalities.
  • Conclusion: Passports, Identity, and International Relations.