Biometric Technologies, Data and the Sensory Work of Border Control

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Perle Møhl
Based on ethnographic fieldwork among border guard police at Copenhagen Airport and Gibraltar International Airport, the article explores the links and dissociations between human and technological vision and intelligence work in the daily operation of border and security control. Presenting two situations in which travellers and their luggage are scrutinized and their intentions and potential future actions imagined, the article seeks to establish the active interpretive forces at play in identification. Where automated recognition operates within the frame of already known and registered information, an essential aspect of border control is concerned with assessing future unknowns through sensory work, interpretation and the crafting of plausible stories. The analysis shows that the actual object of assessment in border control is neither an ID nor a person, but a synthetic and ephemeral figure created in the instance of control as a composite of data inputs and multiple sensory cues: the ID-entity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnos. Journal of Anthropology
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - border control, biometric technology, sensory anthropology, Visual anthropology, police research, identification, Europe

ID: 203670957