Geneticization, Datafication, and Visualization: The Reinvention of Race in New Policing Technologies
(Anglia Ruskin University)
Paper short abstract:
Using examples of recent innovations in policing in the United Kingdom, this paper examines the ways in which, in new technologies of social control, race thinking and race discrimination increasingly take place through three interconnected dynamics: genetization, datafication, and visualization.
Paper long abstract:
As the track abstract suggests, a feature of contemporary socio-technologies of control is the convergence of forensics and surveillance. The potentials of this emerging assemblage are well illustrated by the experiences of ethnic minorities in Europe and North America. These minorities are the subjects of another convergence: the blurring of States' concerns with migration, crime, and security. This paper examines the ways in which, in technologies of policing, race thinking and race discrimination increasingly take place through three interconnected dynamics: genetization, datafication, and visualization. Genetic testing, biometrics and the application of other life science techniques establish the body as a site of truth about identity and biography. This process is in turn dependent on systems of data collection, storage and analysis. These systems bring together bioinformation with other kinds of historic and predictive objects. Facial images play a pivotal role in these technologies, reinforcing what Nakamura terms the 'racial-visual logic' of the digital. The paper explores these themes using case studies taken from policing in the United Kingdom. It will consider recent debates about the reliability, validity and ethics of phenotype prediction using crime scene DNA. It will also consider recent experiments with so-called 'data-driven' policing and the troubled development of 'e-borders'. Lastly it will use the investigation of the 2011 London riots to show how the management of large numbers of images (facial or otherwise) has become central to the business of policing. In each of these cases, 'race' is a resilient if contested, motif.
Technologies of Criminalization: On the convergence of forensic and surveillance technologies