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Teeth and Truth? : Age IDentities of migrants in the making

Title data

Netz, Sabine:
Teeth and Truth? : Age IDentities of migrants in the making.
In: Ethnos : Journal of Anthropology. (2020) . - 16 S..
ISSN 1469-588X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2020.1736594

Abstract in another language

Although the birth date on state documents is proposed as an unambiguous marker of IDentity, the age assessment of migrants into Germany reveals a contested and black-boxed practice behind the seemingly neutral numbers. This is a practice of contested bureaucratic and scientific decision-making turned into a stable truth. This article examines this process by drawing on ethnographic research into forensic practices assessing migrants’ ages in Hamburg, Germany. Ultimately, a migrant’s assessed age has crucial consequences for their identity, rights and possibilities. Through a study of the technologies of assessment, this paper shows that the making of age IDentity is relational and ambiguous, and not a truth that is fixed in one’s body as ‘biological age’. This challenges one of the promises of biometrics, an ability to measure ‘the body’ objectively. Rather, the paper proposes that what that body precisely is is an outcome of a specific practice.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Forensic age estimations; age assessments; unaccompanied minor refugees; migration; biometrics
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Chair Social and Cultural Anthropology
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 300 Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
300 Social sciences > 360 Social problems, social services
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2020 08:35
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2020 08:35
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/55646