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Nora Bardelli is a postdoctoral researcher at CERI within the ANR PIAF project, 'The social life of identity documents in Africa' under the guidance of Prof Richard Banégas. She has accepted to answer our questions. We are interested in knowing more about PIAF and about her. What is PIAF and what is the subject of this collective project? Who is Nora Bardelli and what are her research interests? Interview by Miriam Périer

Since early 2016, part of the Malian urban refugees living in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, have to “capitalize” on their refugee status to make ends meet. By examining when, why, and how the refugee status transmutes into an economic asset, this article shows how the possibilities to negotiate with the refugee category vary significantly within this group of forced migrants. Indeed, categories are not only imposed on people, but are negotiated by the actors themselves in their interactions and within their social and political economies. My article shows how the refugees’ ability or possibility to participate in the co-construction of their category is shaped by both the social and political context in which they are, as well as by wider intersectional and structural dynamics in which their lives are situated, such as socio-economic class, gender and race.

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Cet article examine l’introduction de l’enregistrement biométrique des réfugiés maliens qui vivent au Burkina Faso. Il interroge la manière dont cette technologie, basée sur l’objectivité supposée de la vérité des corps, affecte les autres modes d’identification des réfugiés, en particulier ceux qui reposent sur le témoignage et l’authentification sociale. Il pose également la question des effets de cette nouvelle technologie sur la façon dont les réfugiés eux-mêmes construisent leur identité sociale. Finalement, l’article permet de comprendre que l’introduction de l’enregistrement biométrique des réfugiés n’a pas radicalement fait évoluer la manière dont le statut de réfugié est octroyé et la catégorie sociale construite.