Zehra Hashmi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Michigan, Ann Arbor, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9495

Approve Date

May 1, 2017

Project Title

Hashmi, Zehra, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Kinchip: Identification, Security and Biometric Belonging in Urban Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Hull

ZEHRA HASHMI, then a graduate student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in April 2017 to aid research on ‘Datafied Kinship: Identification, Belonging and Databased Governance in Urban Pakistan,’ supervised by Dr. Matthew Hull. The research investigates how Pakistan’s biometric identity card system has moved from a security-oriented identification system into a broader regime shaping domains of social life far outside security. This card, built from biometrics that consolidates records on citizens’ kin ties, is a central preoccupation for Pashtun migrants in urban locations. Through fieldwork at institutional sites and Pashtun settlements across Islamabad, this research explores the intersection of data and kinship by following various actors. Focusing on digital technology in governance ‘screens, networks and especially databases – it shows how a techno-bureaucratic genealogical imagination transforms Pashtun experiences, notions and practices of kinship. The research traced how daily identification processes were in turn shaped by Pashtun encounters with the system, and the implications of these encounters for governance and security. It examined how participation within NADRA’s databases shape everyday practices, especially for the ethnically marginalized in urban space, affecting mobility, access to housing, education and government services. This ethnography explores historically constituted links between kinship, biometrics and governance as they crystalize into a networked, state-organized infrastructure.