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The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship and the State (Cambridge Studies in Law and Society) Paperback – November 13, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0521113694 ISBN-10: 0521646960 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Law and Society
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 13, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521646960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521113694
  • ASIN: 0521634938
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,108,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

No abstract sociological text, this work is notable for its absence of jargon and its solid grounding in historical fact. Torpey (sociology, Univ. of California, Irvine) analyzes how increasingly powerful states wrested from private institutions the power to regulate the movement of citizens across internationalAand sometimes internalAfrontiers. Passports and identification papers played a pivotal role in this extension of state authority. Their newfound control over citizens enabled governments to extract resources from society with unprecedented efficiency. For instance, accurate identification papers helped French revolutionaries to mobilize their nation for protracted war in the 1790s. By distinguishing citizen from foreigner, identification papers evolved into a bureaucratic expression of nationality. Torpey sounds a cautionary note by pointing out that civil liberties inevitably clash with the state's efforts to "embrace" the citizenry more tightly. Although this book may have minimal appeal beyond academic circles, it would be a worthy addition to academic library collections.AJames Holmes, Fletcher Sch. of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"In this insightful, carefully documented, and analytically astute account, Torpey has laid out for us with elegance and clarity the history of the passport and the 'revolution identificatiore' of which it is an integral part. His theoretically sensitive treatment is essential to our understanding of the modern state system. What Torpey has accomplished here is to have denaturalized, by close historical analysis, the utterly taken-for-granted, contemporary regime of passports." James C. Scott, Journal of Modern History

"With the world awash in refugees, immigrants, "guest workers," travelers, and the occasional terrorist, an interpretive study of identity papers and passports is certainly timely....The historical sociologist John Torpey is well equipped to address these issues. By training he is equally respectful of historical detail and nuance and of the interpretive arguments in contemporary social science. . . His canvas is wide and does ample justice to his subject." Isser Woloch, The American Historical Review

"No abstract sociological text, this work is notable for its absence of jargon and its solid grounding in historical fact." Library Journal

"...thoughtful and imaginative book on passports and the controls effected by them... The ingenuity of this book is evident in the focus on the passport." James B. Rule, Contemporary Sociology

"Torpey's book...is an academic study, covering the legal history of the passport in Europe and the United states." The Dallas Morning News

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly that Torpey has written the first modern account of the invention and evolution of passports and their uses, and has therby opened up entirely new vistas for future research and debate.... there can be no doubt about the validity of his penetrating analysis as a whole, which makes this book a truly remarkable achievement." The International History Review

"In this groundbreaking exploration of the passport's vicissitudes from the French Revolution to the present time, Torpey argues convincingly that the passport is important to our understanding of the nature of the state and the state system." American Journal of Sociology

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mark Howells on September 9, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very interesting and highly readable account of the development of our modern system of passports.
Passports have not always been a requirement for crossing international boundaries. The invention and spread of the concept of a nation-state first in Europe and then around the globe has seen fluctuations in various governments' requirements for both internal and external travel documents. The mercantilist monarchies attempted to retain tight controls while New World migration required no entry documents at all. The free trade liberalism of the 1800s brought down some passport requirements such that fictional Phineas Fogg could dash off around the globe with no passport other than a carpet bag full of banknotes. The 20th Century saw the re-introduction of many formerly relaxed passport controls.
Beginnning with the French Revolutionaries' pre-occupation with travel controls, the book covers the development of passport requirements in the formation of the German nation, observes the great changes in passport restrictions following the First World War, and ends with a review of passport controls in the modern era, including the development of "international" passports for Displaced Persons.
This is an excellent study which shows how passports have fit into modern nations' changing needs to identify both their own citizens and foreigners. The author argues persausively that a nation's ability to differentiate "insiders" from "outsiders" is one of the primary definitions of a nation-state.
Great reading for those interested in the development of the modern state, in the development of travel controls, and in the history of identification documents.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful By simone mueller on February 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Here's a book by a quite well-known sociologist that deals with an important topic -- passports in the modern world and other forms of identification. How did they emerge ? What role did they play at different moments after the late eighteenth century ? But instead of providing a good and careful analysis, Torpey's work is full of careless assertions and poor historical analysis. Archives like that of the International Labour Organization are not properly used. Charles Tilly had already pointed many errors out in a review where he notes many mistakes in dealing with France. But the problems go much beyond this. Torpey wants to cast his work in a Marxist or Foucualtist framework, and so does not see that passports can also be means of empowerment. This means that the whole analogy with labor and the expropriation of labor is flawed. Also, if the book is of so-called leftist sociology, why is the whole colonial question so neglected ? In short this is a superficial analysis and a lost opportunity.
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The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship and the State (Cambridge Studies in Law and Society)
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