Biometrics, affect, autoaffection and the phenomenological voice

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


    This article explores recent relationships between voice and subjectivity in the context of voice recognition technology. The voice is usually framed as a reflection of, if not estrangement from, subjectivity. The underlying assumption is that the voice proliferates in multiple directions and, as such, contributes towards the decentring of subjectivity. Such a perspective is popular amongst those who carry out a posthumanist methodology: namely, that attributes of subjectivity can be reframed so as to diminish human exceptionalism. However, the recent popularity of voice recognition technology poses a new challenge to the decentred subject. This article explores such a challenge by arguing that voice recognition technology resituates the subject with a primordial auto-affection, which is a term introduced by Jacques Derrida. The paper thus examines voice recognition technology as an instrumental case study, intending to explore theoretical positions on the phenomenological voice and its implications for understanding contemporary biometrics. By doing so, the article revisits the notion that the voice and subjectivity rest at the centre of recent experiences with voice recognition technology. While such an argument does not intend to displace the admirable approaches to voice mentioned, it does situate affect, voice, and technology historically as a coordinated effort for new affectively based modes of social control.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)161-176
    Number of pages16
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul. 2018


    • Auto-affection
    • Biometrics
    • Jacques Derrida
    • Voice
    • Voice recognition


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