European Journal of Information Systems

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 668–677

Doing the politics of technological decision making: due process and the debate about identity cards in the U.K.

Original Article


The U.K. Government, in presenting its proposals for biometric identity cards, made strong claims about the technology and science underlying the proposed National Identity Scheme. In this paper, we use insights from science and technology studies (STS), particularly Latour's ‘Politics of Nature’ argument, to analyse the parliamentary debates about the technological and scientific aspects of the proposals. The authors were part of a team that produced a report that raised a series of perplexities about the Scheme in an attempt to counter the short-circuiting of discussion of these perplexities in the parliamentary debate. The paper analyses the government's attempts at short-circuiting in light of Latour's argument and the introduction of perplexities by our report. It demonstrates the extent to which this form of STS can enhance political debate about technological decisions.


identity cards biometrics databases science and technology studies due process informed advocates 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ManagementInformation Systems and Innovation Group, London School of Economics and Political ScienceU.K.

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