IDentity, crude data and “the stuff of lived life”

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

  • Perle Møhl
Based on ethnographic fieldwork among border control agents at Copenhagen Airport and in Ceuta, Spain, the paper explores the linkages and dissociations between human and technological intelligence work in the daily operation of border control where voyagers are profiled, their IDs verified and their intentions and potential future actions are scrutinized. In allignment with the critique (e.g. Andrejevic & Gates, 2014; Kuster & Tsianos, 2016) of monolithic portrayals of border regimes as absctract impenetrable ”black boxes”, the current analysis takes an ethnographic approach to the practical work of border control. And on the floor where borders are erected and maintained on a daily basis, data base ID consulting is indeed a very practical and mundane matter, and only the starting point for a much more complex work of human “intuition” and “creativity”, teasing out and casting what I call the stuff of lived life. Filtering voyagers at the border is thus to a large extent produced through direct human interaction, intelligence and the construction of imagined pasts and projected futures – scenarios of identity for which data doubles and “IDentity” constitute only the crude starting points. The paper thus seeks to ascertain the limitations of ID data and technologically assisted bordering when it comes to determining traveller “identities” and potential tresspassers, focussing more broadly on how identification work is articulated through human·technological encounters, direct sensory, verbal and affective interaction, ephemeral negotiations and the shorthand scenarization of imagined futures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date30 Oct 2017
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2017
EventInternational workshop: "IDentities and identity - Biometric Technologies and migration in the border world" - University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 30 Oct 201731 Jan 2018


WorkshopInternational workshop: "IDentities and identity - Biometric Technologies and migration in the border world"
LocationUniversity of Copenhagen

ID: 186715475