Accepted paper:

Illegal time : the measure of bone age and minor migrants in France


Sandrine Musso (Aix Marseille université/ Centre Norbert Elias)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will problematize how the time is socially and politically shaped through the example of one of the biopolitical tool to do it : the measure of bone-age.

Paper long abstract:

In this presentation, I examine how time is made "real" through practices of standardization and regimes of "measurement." Special attention is paid to the measurement of the "bone age" of underage migrants living in Marseilles, France. Between 2007 to 2015, NGO's challenged the scientific validity of bone age analysis and organized protests against the misuse of the method by immigration officials. Since 2016, due to the success of these protests, and advice from medical and ethical institutions, examinations of the bone age are now secondary to other mechanisms of age determination and they also now require the consent of the migrant in question. Although the legality and scientific validity of this method are now in question, I have found in my fieldwork that minor migrants often still socially interpellated as "naturalizable" through determinations of their bone age. This paper will present the preliminary result of my research work and fieldwork about this form of biopolitical tool of measurement and migration control.

panel P111
Trapped in space, stuck in time? Exploring irregular migration, time and im/mobility