The South Asian Studies Program is pleased to present:
Biometric Bodies, or, How to Make Fingerprinting Technology Work in India
A talk by Dr. Ursula Rao, University of Leipzig
Co-sponsered by the Department of Anthropology
Biometric technology is proliferating around the globe, led by India, despitethe fact that we know almost nothing about the social impacts of biometric devices. How are people repositioned when identification is assigned to an electronic inspection of the body? Routine users of digital fingerpriting devices learn to render a specific social and physical body. They must frequently cope with a "false reject" that causes a disjunction between the body-as-person and the body-as-data. The biometric body is the body of the perfect match. It is created through new hygienic regimes and the manipulation of relations of distance and closeness, such as assertion of class differences and kin solidarity.
Ursula Rao is Profesor and Director of hte Institute of Anthropology at University of Leipzig. She is the author of News as Culture: Journalistic Practices and Remakindg of Indian Leadership Traditions (Berghahn, 2012). Her work examines three topics related to rapidly globalising cities: (1) howsocialsecurity changes interaction between urban poor and the state; (2) how changing news media shapes urban politics; (3) the role of religious institutions andritual for renegotiating social relations