Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Race, biometrics, and security in modern Japan : a history of racial government
Author: Nishiyama, Hidefumi
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 8494
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis is an historical study of biopolitical relations between racism and biometric identification in Japan since the late nineteenth century to the present day. Adopting Foucault’s historical method, it challenges progressive accounts of the history of racism and that of biometrics. During the nineteenth century, practices of biometric identification emerged as constitutive of the knowledge of race wherein imperial power relations between superior and inferior races were enabled. Progressive accounts proclaim that colonial practices of biometrics were not scientific but politically intervened, which has since been discredited and replaced by a ‘true’ science of biometrics as individualisation. Contra progressivist claims on postraciality, the thesis concretely historicises the ways in which subjectification and control of race is conducted through the interplay between the epistemic construction of race and the technology of identification in each historical and geographical context. It analyses three modalities of racial government through biometrics in Japan: biometrics as a biological technology of inscribing race during Japanese colonialism; biometrics as a forensic technology of policing former colonial subjects in post-WWII Japan; and contemporary biometrics as an informatic technology of controlling a newly racialised immigrant population. The thesis concludes that despite a series of de-racialising reforms in the twentieth century, biometrics persist as a biopolitical technology of race. Neither racism nor biometrics as a technology of race is receding but they are continuously transforming in a way that a new mechanism of racial government is made possible. Race evolves, it is argued, not in the sense of social Darwinism but because the concept of race itself changes across time and space wherein a new model of racism is empowered. The thesis contributes to existing literature on the biopolitics of security and biometrics by extending the scope of analysis to a non-Western context, explicating historical relations between racism and biometrics, and problematising biometric rationality at the level of racialised mechanism of knowing and controlling (in)security. It also makes contributions to Foucaultian studies by advancing the analysis of biopolitical racism beyond Foucault’s original formulation and by offering a critique of rationality in the field of biometrics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Department of Politics and International Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JQ Political institutions (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.)