Identifying suspicious bodies? Historically tracing the trajectory of criminal identification technologies in Portugal

Miranda, Diana (2019) Identifying suspicious bodies? Historically tracing the trajectory of criminal identification technologies in Portugal. Surveillance & Society. ISSN 1477-7487 (In Press)

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Abstract

This article explores how criminal identification technologies evolved in Portugal since the end of the 19th century: from anthropometric measurements to descriptive, photographic, dactyloscopic and genetic methods. The historical trajectory of these identification technologies allows us to reflect on the continuities and discontinuities of past and current practices that aim to inscribe the individual identity as a bureaucratic category. The chronological and geographical contexts are fundamental to understand the archival uses of different techniques that seek to document (on paper and electronically) the suspicious body. Through the collection of documentary evidence (such as case files, reports, personal records and legislation), this historical analysis situates the use and implementation of these techniques in the Portuguese context. We demonstrate that the need to identify the criminal and to follow technological developments has been constantly used as a political argument to legitimise the implementation of these technologies. But we also conclude that these identification procedures tend to be extended to the entire population, widening the political will to identify and monitor not only “suspicious” bodies but also those who are regarded as “respectable” citizens.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L300 Sociology
M900 Other in Law
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2019 15:54
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2019 10:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/41028

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