Elida Kristine Undrum Jacobsen
PRIO and University of Gothenburg, Peace and Development Studies, School of Global Studies
Biopolitics in India: Identity management and the Unique Identification System (UID)
My PhD project analyses the construction and management of identity in the discourses and practices of India’s governance, and in particular the new Unique Identification Numbers system (UID). The UID is a large-scale biometric project which seeks to collect the biometric identifiers (iris scan and fingerprinting) of all residents of India, and provide residents with unique identifiers. The PhD project seeks to understand this evolving and changing nature of bio-politics in India. People’s identities are increasingly linked with their biological bodies- what does this imply? Who are the political ‘targets’ of biometric identification? In which ways are the practices of contemporary identity management interlinked with security discourses? How does technological control of bodies intervene into, and affect, everyday life of peoples targeted in identification schemes? The project thus looks into the larger linkages between power and identity in contemporary (liberal) governance, and seeks to form new research objectives and theory on the interrelation between identity management, biometric technology and security practices on basis of the Indian experience. The overall research questions will be answered through studying biometric identification in relation to the ‘everyday’. My methodology is a combination of discourse analysis and two ethnological studies in India.