Accepted Paper:

The language of truth against fraud: DNA analysis for family reunification in Finland  


Anna-Maria Tapaninen (University of Eastern Finland)

Paper short abstract:

The proposed paper discusses the use of DNA testing for family reunification in Finland. In the absence of acceptable documents, the ‘DNA truth’ and narrative proof are weighed together in order to include only true families and exclude others.

Paper long abstract:

Family reunification has become a major 'channel' to Europe. The right to family is a recognized principle yet the eligibility of family members and the authenticity of the claimed family ties are increasingly contested. In the quest for truth, the ideas of true families and of ubiquitous fraud are dealt with when evaluating the credibility of applicants. As many applicants, especially asylum seekers, lack acceptable identity documents or marriage and birth certificates, they are subjected to other investigations to prove the alleged family ties. In addition to the narrative proof of interviews, DNA analysis has become commonly and in many cases quite routinely used. Today, at least 20 countries around the world have incorporated DNA testing into decision-making on family reunification cases. In the world of suspicion and insecurities, DNA analysis stands out because of its exact and objective nature that is expressed in the abstract language of probabilities. The proposed paper looks at the interplay of documents, narratives and biotechnologies, especially DNA profiling, in immigration control in Finland from the points of view of officials, lawyers, geneticists and the people concerned. The dialogical, shifting constitution of credibility is approached via documents, interviews and court cases.

Panel P045
Tracing eligibilities: moralities, performances, practices (EASA Network for Anthropology of Law and Rights)