Skip to content
Cart

Your Cart

×

You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

Biometric State
The Global Politics of Identification and Surveillance in South Africa, 1850 to the Present

$29.99 (C)

Award Winner
  • Date Published: October 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107434899

$ 29.99 (C)
Paperback

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook


Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact collegesales@cambridge.org providing details of the course you are teaching.

Description
Product filter button
Description
Contents
Resources
Courses
About the Authors
    • Explores how the region and institutions of Southern Africa have served as sites for global experiments in biometric identification and biometric government
    • Shows that the origins of biometric experiments in South Africa lie in long-distance links between individuals and institutions with earlier histories in India, Britain and the USA
    • Identifies a new form of state emerging amongst former European colonies, which speaks to debates across political science, sociology, surveillance studies, development economics and development studies
    Read more

    Awards

    • Winner, 2017 Humanities Book Award, Academy of Science of South Africa

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This fascinating and deeply researched study of the transnational politics of biometric measurement and surveillance places South Africa in a global field force of scientific and technological experimentation. Beginning with Galton and Gandhi, it shows how the power of technology can be deployed for many different reasons, and often with surprising outcomes."
    Saul Dubow, Queen Mary, University of London

    "Keith Breckenridge, one of South Africa's leading historians, has written a fascinating, highly original social archaeology of the 'biometric state' … A magisterial work whose scope covers two centuries and many parts of the planet, it explains, counter-intuitively, why South Africa is the most advanced of such states in the world today, why it is a laboratory, in this respect, for other nations. By dint of its thoughtful scholarship, the book compels us to rethink the future history of states everywhere."
    John Comaroff, Harvard University

    "A perceptive and provocative study, full of ideas and punchy arguments, that casts new light on the global dimensions and political continuities of South Africa's identification state before, during and after apartheid. Breckenridge not only disentangles this intricate history but embeds it in a fresh account of how colonial and post-colonial states have been seduced by the siren-song of technological solutions to political problems."
    Jane Caplan, University of Oxford

    "Brilliantly, Breckenridge sees South Africa as a 'global laboratory for biometric government'. This highly engaging and consequential analysis traces the vital links between colonialism and contemporary surveillance, provocatively placing biometrics and the state in some unfamiliar but compelling relations with each other. The lights keep coming on, to the very end of the book."
    David Lyon, Queen’s University

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity

    ×

    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?

    ×

    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107434899
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the global biometric arena
    1. Science of empire: the South African origins and objects of Galtonian eugenics
    2. Asiatic despotism: Edward Henry on the Witwatersrand
    3. Gandhi's biometric entanglement: fingerprints, Satyagraha and the global politics of Hind Swaraj
    4. No will to know: biometric registration and the limited curiosity of the gatekeeper state
    5. Verwoerd's bureau of proof: the Apartheid Bewysburo and the end of documentary government
    6. Galtonian reversal: apartheid and the making of biometric citizenship
    Epilogue: empire and the mimetic fantasy
    Conclusion
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Keith Breckenridge, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
    Keith Breckenridge is an historian and the deputy director of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He has published widely on the cultural and economic history of South Africa, particularly the gold mining industry, the state and the development of information systems. His writing on biometrics has appeared in Africa, History Workshop, the Journal of Southern African Studies, Public Culture and some of the most influential comparative anthologies on systems of identification. In 2012 he co-edited Registration and Recognition: Documenting the Person in World History, with Simon Szreter, a volume of essays for the British Academy examining the workings and failures of civil registration in twenty different regions and periods around the world.

    Awards

    • Winner, 2017 Humanities Book Award, Academy of Science of South Africa

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account

Cancel

Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email lecturers@cambridge.org

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner www.ebooks.com. Please see the permission section of the www.ebooks.com catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.

Cancel

Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

×
Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.
×