Security, Risk and the Biometric State

Governing Borders and Bodies

By Benjamin J. Muller

© 2010 – Routledge

164 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415670098
pub: 2011-02-28
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415484404
pub: 2010-02-18
US Dollars$150.00

About the Book

This book examines a series of questions associated with the increasing application and implications of biometrics in contemporary everyday life.

In the wake of the events of 9/11, the reliance on increasingly sophisticated and invasive technologies across a burgeoning field of applications has accelerated, giving rise to the term 'biometric state'. This book explores how these ‘virtual borders’ are created and the effect they have upon the politics of citizenship and immigration, especially how they contribute to the treatment of citizens as suspects. Finally and most importantly, this text argues that the rationale of 'governing through risk' facilitates pre-emptory logics, a negligent attitude towards 'false positives', and an overall proliferation of borders and ubiquitous risk, which becomes integral to contemporary everyday life, far beyond the confined politics of national borders and frontiers.

By focusing on specific sites, such as virtual borders in airports, trusted traveller programs like the NEXUS program and those delivered by airlines and supported by governmental authorities (TSA and CATSA respectively), this book raises critical questions about the emerging biometric state and its commitment and constitution vis-à-vis technology of ‘governing through risk’.

This book will be of interest to students of biopolitics, critical security, surveillance studies and International Relations in general.

Benjamin J. Muller is assistant professor in International Relations at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada. He completed his PhD in the School of Politics and International Studies at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 2005.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Security, Risk, and the Biometric State: Governing Borders and Bodies 2. Are You Who You Say You Are? Biometrics and the Management of Borders and Bodies 3. Suspect(ing) Biometrics: Identity, Security and National ID Cards 4. Catastrophe, Narrative, and the Failure of Imagination 5. Securing the Political Imagination: Popualr Culture, The Security Dispositif and the Biometric State 6. A North American Biometric State? 7. Securitizing the Global Norm of Identity: Biometrics and Homo Sacer in Fallujah. Conclusion

About the Author

Benjamin J. Muller is Assistant Professor in International Relations and Political Theory at King's University College at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. He completed his PhD in the School of Politics and International Studies at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 2005.

About the Series

PRIO New Security Studies

The aim of this book series is to gather state-of-the-art theoretical reflection and empirical research into a core set of volumes that respond vigorously and dynamically to  new challenges to security studies scholarship.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security