Who Are You?: Identification, Deception, and Surveillance in Early Modern Europe by Valentin GroebnerWho Are You?: Identification, Deception, and Surveillance in Early Modern Europe by Valentin Groebner

Who Are You?: Identification, Deception, and Surveillance in Early Modern Europe

byValentin GroebnerTranslated byMark Kyburz, John Peck

Hardcover | February 16, 2007

Pricing and Purchase Info

$40.97 online 
$42.95 list price
Earn 205 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

HURRY, ONLY 1 LEFT!
Quantity:

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores

about

The prehistory of modern passport and identification technologies: the documents, seals, and stamps, that could document and transform their owner's identity.

Who are you? And how can you prove it? How were individuals described and identified in the centuries before photography and fingerprinting, in a world without centralized administrations, where names and addresses were constantly changing? In Who are You?, Valentin Groebner traces the early modern European history of identification practices and identity papers. The documents, seals, stamps, and signatures were-and are-powerful tools that created the double of a person in writ and bore the indelible signs of bureaucratic authenticity. Ultimately, as Groebner lucidly explains, they revealed as much about their makers' illusory fantasies as they did about their bearers' actual identity. The bureaucratic desire to register and control the population created, from the sixteenth century onward, an intricate administrative system for tracking individual identities. Most important, the proof of one's identity was intimately linked and determined by the identification papers the authorities demanded and endlessly supplied. Ironically, these papers and practices gave birth to two uncanny doppelgängers of administrative identity procedures: the spy who craftily forged official documents and passports, and the impostor who dissimulated and mimed any individual he so desired. Through careful research and powerful narrative, Groebner recounts the complicated and bizarre stories of the many ways in which identities were stolen, created, and doubled. Groebner argues that identity papers cannot be interpreted literally as pure and simple documents. They are themselves pieces of history, histories of individuals and individuality, papers that both document and transform their owner's identity-whether carried by Renaissance vagrants and gypsies or the illegal immigrants of today who remain "sans papier," without papers.

Valentin Groebner is professor of medieval and Renaissance history at the University of Lucerne. He is the author of Liquid Assets, Dangerous Gifts and Who Are You? Identification, Deception, and Surveillance in Early Modern Europe.
Loading
Title:Who Are You?: Identification, Deception, and Surveillance in Early Modern EuropeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.5 inPublished:February 16, 2007Publisher:Zone BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1890951722

ISBN - 13:9781890951726

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

[A] magisterial investigation of the complexities of identity definition and identity documentation.

-Medieval History Journal