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Cultural TechniquesGrids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Real$
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Bernhard Siegert

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823263752

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823263752.001.0001

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Pasajeros a Indias

Pasajeros a Indias

Registers and Biographical Writing as Cultural Techniques of Subject Constitution (Spain, Sixteenth Century)

(p.82) 5 Pasajeros a Indias
Cultural Techniques

Bernhard Siegert

, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young
Fordham University Press

This chapter describes the cultural techniques of interrogation, registration, and licensing on the boundary between land and sea, that produced in sixteenth century Spain the legal passenger to “The Indies” in contrast to the illegal passenger, the vagabond, the parasite. The invention of a bureaucratical apparatus and notational techniques of state control over the migration of individuals across the border between Europa and America, land and sea, made those who otherwise would have disappeared without a trace into historical darkness speak of themselves. The chapter analyzes the discourse of the interrogations of witnesses, the petitions of the passengers, and the passenger registers in the Archive General de Indias in Seville, and demonstrates how the bureaucratic procedures that produce the legal passenger prdicue at the same time the problematic difference between fact and fiction, truth and fake. It demonstrates, too, how closely the problem of distinguishing between fact and fiction in the registers and the problem of producing fictitious identities by what Foucault called governmentality is connected to the early modern problem of distinguishing between true and false poor and the emergence of a discourse on a parasitic ecomomy of false beggars and vagabonds.

Keywords:   Passengers, Sixteenth Century, Biography, Governmentality, Foucault, Spain, Latin America, Bureaucracy, Archive, Vagabonds

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