Keynote Paper: Are State-Mediated Forms of Identification a Reaction to Physical Mobility? The case of England, 1500-2007

  • Edward Higgs
Part of the The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 261)

The development of technologies of identification has been linked to mobility, urbanisation and anonymity in both past and contemporary societies. This paper looks at England over the past 500 years to see if the history of mobility, urbanisation and identification mesh chronologically. Looking at the legal person, the citizen and the criminal deviant in turn, it argues that only in the case of the latter does there seem to be such a relationship. Even here, however, there appear to be other factors at work as well. Rather than mobility per se as the causal factor, the development of forms of identification seems to be linked to the changing relationships between individuals, commercial organisation and the state.


Legal Person Personal Identification Number Population Mobility Identity Card Physical Mobility 
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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Higgs
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EssexUK

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