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African citizenships – A biometric turn?

Abstract : This chapter examines the boom in new technologies for identifying people that African societies are experiencing and discusses their political effects. Is biometrics radically changing the practices of power and citizenship? Does it entail a new relationship between individuals and the state? Based on empirical studies conducted in several countries and on the academic literature, this contribution questions the utopias of biometric ‘emergence’ and the democratic illusion of the universalization of rights through digital technology. It shows that the documentary state as it works in practice is not supplanted by the biometric state and that new technologies do not prevent either identity fraud or political distrust—at times, they even accentuate the logic of civic exclusion. The chapter thus underlines the profound social embedding of biometric reforms and the undeniable ability of social actors to adapt to new technologies.
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Submitted on : Monday, July 12, 2021 - 11:44:19 AM
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Séverine Awenengo Dalberto, Richard Banégas, Armando Cutolo, Rachel Robertson. African citizenships – A biometric turn?. Séverine Awenengo Dalberto; Richard Banegas. Identification and Citizenship in Africa. Biometrics, the Documentary State and Bureaucratic Writings of the Self, Routledge, pp.29 - 48, 2021, 9781003053293. ⟨hal-03283918⟩



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