26 April 2023

Securing the Future? IDentity1 and Security among Migrants, Policymakers, and Tech Developers

CoverAssociate Professor Kristina Grünenberg and Tenure Track Assistant Professor Anja Simonsen have in collaboration published an article in the journal Papeles del CEIC entitled 'Securing the Future? IDentity and Security among Migrants, Policymakers, and Tech Developers'.

As an attempt to ensure national security, there has been an increased use of biometric technologies in recent years. These involve a wide range of technologically mediated practices which format and digitalize bodily attributes such as fingerprints, iris and face, for the registration and verification of the identity of individuals. While biometrics are used in a wide range of settings and assume an increasingly important regulating role in society, their use is particularly salient in the tracking of movements and identification of migrants.

The article is based on a multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork and seeks to explore the importance of- and desire for security and its entanglement with the production of identities among Somali migrants, European Union policy makers and tech developers.

Drawing on the concept, “IDentities”, coined by Perle Møhl (2022) in a collaborative special issue on biometrics, the authors focus on the various ways in which biometric IDentities are negotiated, as borders have become ubiquitous and extend into the far corners of society. Simonsen and Grünenberg argue, that the relationship between security and biometric technologies is equally important for Somali migrants, tech developers and policy makers albeit for very different reasons. The notions- and practices of security across the different sites are in other words informed by the different interlocutors’ specific contextual and sociocultural understandings and positions in the border world.

Read the article open access at the Papeles del CEIC website

1See also the article: Perle Møhl (2020): Biometric Technologies, Data and the Sensory Work of Border Control, Ethnos, DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2019.169685