Identification and Registration Practices in Transnational Perspective

Part of the series St Antony’s Series pp 281-301

‘Establishing Your True Identity’: Immigration Detention and Contemporary Identification Debates

  • Melanie Griffiths


The verification of identity has been bound up in state attempts to control people’s mobility for many centuries,1 but took on additional significance in the twentieth century, as a result of the World Wars, development of the European Union and relaxing of some internal European borders under the Schengen Agreement.2 By the beginning of the twenty-first century, identification demands in the UK and elsewhere had gone beyond specific arenas, such as international travel, to have pertinence throughout society. Amassing information about identifiers and creating reliable means of proving identity are now as much about banal commercialism as super-securitization, and are of concern to the private sector as much as public bodies.