Pierre Piazza

A History of France's National Identity Card Publication date : March 1, 2004

What were the consequences — both politically and in terms of the sense of personal identity — of the introduction of a national I.D. card for all French citizens? Pierre Piazza answers this question from a historical perspective, stressing the role played by the Vichy government. His research is informed by many previously unpublished documents from public archives.
After outlining the lengthy process that led to institutionalising the national identity card, the author describes with precision the crucial role played by some public servants in rationalising systems and techniques of identification. His detailed examination of the internal workings of the State reveals the conflicts, contradictions and intrigues that govern relations between different departments.
Piazza highlights the reactions, discussions and multiple forms of resistance provoked by the various attempts made by the French State to introduce a system of national identification.
This book, about a complex, fascinating subject that had not been studied in depth until now, will help illuminate an important facet in the process of nationalising and establishing state control over society.

Pierre Piazza holds a doctorate in political science and is a research fellow at the French Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Securité Intérieure.