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Change and continuity in the techniques and technologies of identification over the second Christian millennium

Higgs, EJ (2010) 'Change and continuity in the techniques and technologies of identification over the second Christian millennium.' Identity in the Information Society, 62 (4). 345 - 354. ISSN 1477-4569

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This paper looks at the history of identification in England over the past 1,000 years. It contends that techniques and technologies of identification do not identify a single entity but a number of forms of personality, including the juridical person, the citizen and the deviant. Individuals can be the bearers of more than one of these personalities at the same time, or over the course of their life. These personalities are created by social performances to which people are trained to react conventionally. As such identity, and its identification, is a social and cultural phenomenon, rather than a ?thing?. Each of the personalities noted above has been identified historically in differing ways -through possessions or techniques in the case of the juridical person, though the community in the case of the citizen, and on, or through, the body in the case of the deviant. In the contemporary world these distinctions are being effaced, as all forms of identification are being reduced to the body and the database. This levelling of social forms of being has implication for what it means to be a person in our society, and for public perceptions of new techniques and technologies of identification.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: History of identification - Identification of juridical persons - Identification of citizens - Identification of criminals - Seals - Signatures - Fingerprints - DNA
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2011 13:36
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 18:18

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