Call for papers, Fingerprints. Techniques Of identification and Individual Rights


Techniques of Identification and Individual Rights

MaTriX laboratory proposes to be an opportunity for discussion and reflection open to young historians, sociologists, political scientists, jurists, and social psychologists whose research focuses  on institutions. To this end, MaTriX removes every chronological and thematic barrier: although focused primarily on topics concerning political European modernity, the laboratory does not apply  spatial and temporal limits to its contributors,and follows an interdisciplinary approach. MaTriX aims at promoting a new order of discourse in the social sciences: institutions as key to interpreting the socio-cultural, political, and economic reality.


Today’s migration to Europe involving hundreds of thousands of individuals certainly does not represent an extraordinary and unexpected phenomenon. Yet, this migration places matters of great importance at the centre of the political debate. One of these, the topic of people’s identification, has acquired a growing importance within the political agenda of many European states as well as the European Union. The need to ascertain the identity of migrants basically accomplishes two objectives: on the one hand, it contributes to the control of the territorythrough the detailed knowledge of the individuals who live within it; on the other hand, it makes those individuals legal subjects incorporated in a system of laws and administrative regulations. Therefore, the identification of migrants has a highly political significance and it is an extremely ambivalent activity, since it is the demonstration of a power that is exercised first and foremost on the migrants’ bodies by such means as the collection of fingerprints, photographing their faces, and the verification of their name and birthplace.

The processes and mechanisms of identification for managing migration carried out by the states and supranational organizations have aroused a lively cultural and political debate. The security devices employed to govern people’s movements have a strong impact on western societies, both for the effects produced by the emergency rhetoric used by the governments of the host countries, and for the effects that these security startegies inevitably have on immigrants. Thus, theoretical reflections and empirical research constitute ex parte principis: namely, they have to analyse the kind of sovereignty in the matter of identification that is exercised by national and supranational political actors and the security discourses they resort to in order to legitimise legal and technical tools for migrants’ selection. But, at the same time, research and reflections need to be ex parte populi, which means focusing on the rights –for instance, to privacy and freedom of movement –of the individuals who are subject to identification processes.

Within the literature on identification, as efficaciously highlighted by Buono, there are two different main approaches: the first one, which is strongly influenced by the works of Foucault and Weber, is focused on identification as a surveillance activity pursued by states, while the second one, which is more linked to the experiences of non-western countries, is centred on the notion of registration as a form of recognition of membership and as ameans of gaining access to rights.

The presence of these two paradigms shows the ambivalence of identification, thus stressing the great political and scientific relevance of this topic. On the one hand, the act of registering is a device for monitoring that satisfies the need of knowing and thereby an activity that is functional to the creation of more effective policies, but, on the other hand, it is a powerful tool of social control, based on the monitoring of territory and the identification of the individuals who live within it.

MaTRiX Laboratory’s third call for papers focuses on the theme of Identification techniques and individual rights with a long-term perspective -starting from the Middle Ages to the present day. The new volume, edited by Simona Berhe and Enrico Gargiulo, will welcome contributions by scholars from many diverse fields: sociology, law, economics, computer science, geography, history, anthropology, medicine and genetics, and demography.

Some examples -neither exhaustive nor binding -of areas of knowledge and relevant topics that can be addressed:

  1. The legal changes relating to the identification issue;
  2. The administrative registration procedures and their political significance;
  3. The technical tools for identification and registration;
  4. The technologies for the collection and processing of personal data, also considering the importance covered by the theme of big data;
  5. The medical, physiological, and genetic bases of the use of biometric data;
  6. The role of statistics and demographic sciences in building a shared knowledge on the registration issue;
  7. The institutions involved in the registration procedures and their role in relation to political actors and their objectives;
  8. Subjective strategies (and collective)of resistance to the identification process, with particular reference to the Dublin Regulation.

Each author must send the ANNEX A (download here), completed and signed, to thee-mail address fingerprints.labmatrix@gmail.comby October 31, 2016. Contributions will be allowed in Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The selection results will be announced by December 30, 2016.

Each author is given six months to write their own contribution (max. 35,000 characters including spaces), which will then be subject to a peer review. The selected papers will be discussed in a special workshop to be held at the University of Milan in November 2017. Next, the researchers involved will have an additional month to make corrections and/or suggestions arising from the workshop. The book will be published by spring 2018, and presented and discussed in the annual seminar of the MaTRiX Network in June 2018.

MaTRiX, which will publish the volume and organize the workshops, is a non-profit association that is totally financed by the quotas paid by its members. Therefore, as a contribution to the success of this work, if their abstract is accepted, each author will be required to pay a fee which is to be paid into the account of the MaTRiX Association.

In order to cover part of the publishing and organizational costs, this amount should be paid before March 31, 2017 in the following ways:

(A) Doctoral / PhD students without a scholarship: € 30.00;

(B) Doctoral / PhD students with a scholarship: € 50.00;

(C) Professors: € 70.00.

Milan/Turin, July 1, 2016

The editors

Simona Berhe, University of Milan

Enrico Gargiulo,University of Eastern Piedmont

The Scientific Committee

Giuseppe Ambrosino, coordinator, eCampus University

Loris De Nardi, coordinatore, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Simona Berhe, University of Milan

Alessandro Buono, CRH-LaDéHiS, EHESS, Paris

Giacomo Demarchi, University of Milan

Francesco DiChiara, University ofPalermo

Simona Fazio, Max Planck Institute for European Legal History

Salvatore Mura, UniversityofSassari

Citer ce billet
nvidoni (2016, 13 novembre). Call for papers, Fingerprints. Techniques Of identification and Individual Rights. Systèmes policiers Européens XVIIIe-XIXe siècle. Consulté le 17 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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