In this paper, we critically interrogate the registration of migrants in pan-European, large-scale biometric databases, like Eurodac (European Asylum Dactyloscopy Database). We employ the notion of “epidermal politics”, which analytically captures how human bodies – and skin in particular – become sites of identification, violent control, and contestation. Thinking through epidermal politics allows us to understand how the development of technologies that render skin visible and analysable, such as fingerprint scanners and biometric matching algorithms, are entangled in relations of power, structural racism, and subjugation. Drawing on the work of Simone Browne (2015) and her elaboration of Franz Fanon’s theory of epidermisation, we argue that migration control in Europe, and its violent and racialising effects, are embedded within data infrastructures that “stigmatise” (Van Der Ploeg 1999) post-colonial “others” with codes to control their mobilities. We unpack this argument in three stages. First, we discuss the governmental rationales that inform the use of Eurodac for the management of migration and asylum in Europe. Second, we discuss how biometric control is related to different forms of state violence, including deportation, prolonged detention, and physical violence associated with the forced registration of migrants’ fingerprints. Third, we attend to strategies employed by migrants to contest biometric control, focusing specifically on fingertip burning and mutilation, which we interpret as acts of dissent and self-determination to escape control. Overall, our goal is to emphasise the need to pay closer attention to dynamics of violence and racialisation that emerge at biometric and other kinds of “hi-tech” borders.

Epidermal politics: Control, violence and dissent at the biometric border / Glouftsios, Georgios; Casaglia, Anna. - In: ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING. C, POLITICS AND SPACE. - ISSN 2399-6544. - 2023, 41:3(2023), pp. 567-582. [10.1177/23996544221144872]

Epidermal politics: Control, violence and dissent at the biometric border

Glouftsios, Georgios
Primo
;
Casaglia, Anna
Ultimo
2023-01-01

Abstract

In this paper, we critically interrogate the registration of migrants in pan-European, large-scale biometric databases, like Eurodac (European Asylum Dactyloscopy Database). We employ the notion of “epidermal politics”, which analytically captures how human bodies – and skin in particular – become sites of identification, violent control, and contestation. Thinking through epidermal politics allows us to understand how the development of technologies that render skin visible and analysable, such as fingerprint scanners and biometric matching algorithms, are entangled in relations of power, structural racism, and subjugation. Drawing on the work of Simone Browne (2015) and her elaboration of Franz Fanon’s theory of epidermisation, we argue that migration control in Europe, and its violent and racialising effects, are embedded within data infrastructures that “stigmatise” (Van Der Ploeg 1999) post-colonial “others” with codes to control their mobilities. We unpack this argument in three stages. First, we discuss the governmental rationales that inform the use of Eurodac for the management of migration and asylum in Europe. Second, we discuss how biometric control is related to different forms of state violence, including deportation, prolonged detention, and physical violence associated with the forced registration of migrants’ fingerprints. Third, we attend to strategies employed by migrants to contest biometric control, focusing specifically on fingertip burning and mutilation, which we interpret as acts of dissent and self-determination to escape control. Overall, our goal is to emphasise the need to pay closer attention to dynamics of violence and racialisation that emerge at biometric and other kinds of “hi-tech” borders.
2023
3
Glouftsios, Georgios; Casaglia, Anna
Epidermal politics: Control, violence and dissent at the biometric border / Glouftsios, Georgios; Casaglia, Anna. - In: ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING. C, POLITICS AND SPACE. - ISSN 2399-6544. - 2023, 41:3(2023), pp. 567-582. [10.1177/23996544221144872]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/362122
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