Infrastructures of (non)knowledge. Fakes and fear at Europe's borders

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Abstract

False identities, forged documents and fake narratives underpin discourses and practices of border control in Europe. Migrants are always under suspicion that they ‘fake’ their stories, suffering, passports, trauma or data. This chapter explores how infrastructures produce ways of knowing and not-knowing by drawing distinctions between and allocating people and things to categories of genuine and fake, authentic and inauthentic. By proposing to speak of infrastructures of (non)knowledge, I draw attention not just to ‘robust networks of people, artifacts, and institutions that generate, share, and maintain specific knowledge about the human and natural worlds’, but also to how such networks enact boundaries between knowledge and non-knowledge. Detecting fakes requires devices, methods and experts that can deploy tests of authentication to decide which narratives, which documents and which embodied suffering is real or fake. As fakes are tied into the politics of fear, refugees continue to be under suspicion for fraud, of using fake documents and fake stories to have access to asylum. Fake data, forged documents or narratives can be detected at any point and even lead to the revocation of refugee status.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnopolitics and the Making of Europe. Infrastructures of Security
EditorsNina Klimburg-Witjes, Paul Trauttmansdorff
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter3
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781003267409
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 0001

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