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Accepted Paper:

Algorithmic Faceprint - The Military Drone Image  


Fazil Moradi (University of Johannesburg)

Paper short abstract:

This paper engages the growing body of scholarship on automatic society, biometric citizenship, technologized e-/border and life world, and non/human placing a renewed emphasis on algorithmic reduction.

Paper long abstract:

It was not only "Hitler [who] thought war in the air was a particularly Germanic form of battle" (Edgerton 2008: 104). The scholarly and political episteme of techno-nationalism in France, Britain, United States of America, and Soviet Union assembled each nation, as opposed to the Other, as the nation "best fitted for the technological age (Ibid.). This episteme immediately rendered the rest of the world as futureless non-nations.

In this paper I turn to how the algorithmic reduction of human into faceprint at technologically automated airports point us at an unprecedented turn for the re-making of the nation and guarding and compromising of sovereign state borders. Algorithmic calculations control human movements as handling large quantities of data unknown in human experience, making sure that the identifiable, "self-identical," sovereign nation-state is not under attack. Human subject as bodily movement has become an effect of algorithmic identification and verification, dismantling the difference between non/human. I discuss how as a neoliberal digitized object human's reality is expressed in mathematical terms and processed and controlled with the computerized machines that act without reference to the human world. And how the faceprint itself as a technology of control of human body as a "non-state" or "trans-state" entity, is connected with the current worldwide use of drones in "targeted killings," reducing the Otherized human to an image to be erased from the computer screen, the Earth.

Panel R011
Shifting Horizons: Anthropology and STS in the 21st Century