Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration
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Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration

Edited by Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri

Border walls, shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, separated families at the border, island detention camps: migration is at the centre of contemporary political and academic debates. This ground-breaking Handbook offers an exciting and original analysis of critical research on themes such as these, drawing on cutting-edge theories from an interdisciplinary and international group of leading scholars. With a focus on spatial analysis and geographical context, this volume highlights a range of theoretical, methodological and regional approaches to migration research, while remaining attuned to the underlying politics that bring critical scholars together.
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Chapter 5: Biometric borders

Benjamin J. Muller


What is the biometric border? How did it emerge and to what extent have biometric technologies changed borders and the experience and articulation of the bodies that cross them? Although the use of biometrics in border security and visa and mobility management are presented as enabling verification and authentication of political identity, deeper trends towards what for lack of a better term we might refer to as a ‘biometric state’ are part of this story. It is as much about the increasing interoperability and interchangeability of border security and identity management tactics that biometrics promises, as it is about proliferating and enhancing sovereign power as global commerce and mobility challenge the state’s resilience. Referred to as emergency or exception, biometric borders are instrumental facilitators in the proliferation and permanence of this discretionary sovereign power.

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