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Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology

On-line version ISSN 1809-4341


PEIRANO, Mariza. Your ID, please? the Henry Gates vs. James Crowley event from an anthropological perspective. Vibrant, Virtual Braz. Anthr. [online]. 2011, vol.8, n.2, pp.40-67. ISSN 1809-4341.

In the modern world, ID papers are those indispensable objects without which we cannot prove we are who we say we are. We need material proof to attest to our identification. The central ethnographic event of this paper took place in July 2009 with the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. by the police of the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, after a passer-by reported that someone was breaking of the entrance door of a house which, it soon transpired, was the professor's own house. From the analysis of this episode three mechanisms of classification and singularization are revealed, namely "recognition," "identification," and "profiling."

Keywords : ID papers; ethnography; Henry Louis Gates; Valentin Groebner; Charles S. Peirce.

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