Accepted paper:

Permanent temporality: doing race and the citizen in practices of issuing temporary ID cards in Romania


Ildikó Plájás (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

This paper looks at different temporalities at stake in the practices if issuing a temporary ID card in Romania. By closely examining the materialities, technologies and notions of citizenship, I argue that 'race' and 'racial otherness' has not only spatial but also temporal configurations.

Paper long abstract:

Whereas race is often evoked in a spatial register, for example in research about spatial segregation, in this paper I look at the temporal configurations of race. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in a local department where ID cards are issued in Romania, I attend to the materialities and technologies involved in issuing the temporary ID card called CIP. People without a proper housing, as often is the case in marginalized and segregated Roma communities, can only receive a temporary ID card, a paper-based document with a validity of maximum one year. These people are not only deprived of full citizenship (and the rights which come with it, for example travelling without passport in the European Union), but are also exposed to heightened surveillance as they have to return to the department of issuing ID cards every single year. This paper looks at the temporal dimensions of the materials and technologies involved but also the temporal notions of the 'good citizen' as it emerges from the everyday bureaucratic practice of issuing identity documents, in particular the temporary ID card. Drawing on literature on Science and Technology Studies and material semiotics of 'race' and 'racial Other' (M'charek 2013; M'charek et al. 2014), I mobilize the notion of temporality to understand how 'the Roma' is enacted in bureaucratic practices in Romania as a 'racial Other'.

panel E08
Topologies of race: bringing a touchy object in STS