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Virtual Borders, Data Aliens, and Bare Bodies: Culture, Securitization, and the Biometric State

Javier Duran


This article analyzes the reconfiguration of state power into new immaterial forms such as virtual and biometric borders, and the impact of this reconfiguration in the cultural representation of migrant subjects and transborder communities. It attempts to respond to, and to elucidate what happens when security mutates from an abstract notion to a series of practices that become part of the nationstate’s dominant discourse. In the first section, it offers a panoramic vision of virtual borders and its explanatory mechanisms linked to security and biometrics. Drawing from what Muller (2008) calls the 'dispositif of security,' it then discusses some interconnections between the biometric state, the culture of securitization and the growing perception that borders are becoming quasi-permanent states of exception. The third part establishes connecting lines between visual securitization images and other recent representations of the biometric border in popular film and narrative using a detailed discussion of the film Sleep Dealer (2008) as a primary example of these interconnections.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229