The Invention of 'Kumba Age’. How did individuals' age become dynamic in Cameroon?

Monday, 15 April, 2024 - 16:00

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This article analyzes how individuals react to the age barriers established by the state for access to public service in Cameroon. The use of civil age as an instrument of identification reveals that this artifact has political significance, enabling the classification and categorization of individuals competing for positions. The established age thresholds serve as sorting mechanisms that determine employment rights and the end of employability. Faced with their discriminatory effects, individuals engage in various processes to alter their age whenever it contradicts their subjectivities. However, this manipulation of age-related identity becomes more critical with the advent of the biometric state, which is more attentive than the documentary state to the management of personal data. This article highlights that practices of age modification, far from being a mere disruption in the social game, herald the emergence of a society where age becomes dynamic, with consequences for civil identification.

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