In the last decades surveillance and security tools, from cctv to ID cards, have grown to unpredictable levels. From close spaces, such as airports and malls, to urban contexts, our identities have become mere physical features constantly monitored by the penetrating eyes of security devices. The complexity, the nuances and the essential social components of identity are often reduced to ascribed characteristics. Identities have turned into “transparent” and naked bodies, legitimately scrutinised and divided into “pieces”. This simplistic approach could lead either to social exclusion of ethnic groups usually associated with deviant behaviour, or to a more general lack of concern for the integrity and the dignity of the person as a whole. The paper aims at analysing this new and inadequate anthropology of the person by focusing on different examples, such as biometrics and data banks, that emphasise the fragmentation of the body and the risks related to this reductive approach.
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