Minor to the bone? Juvenile court judges and the role of bone testing in determining the age of unaccompanied migrant minors

By Annalisa Lendaro


This article analyzes the role of bone tests carried out during the judicial process to determine whether unaccompanied migrants are indeed minors. The study focuses on discussions on their capacity to “tell the truth” about an individual’s chronological age that emerge during and outside hearings before the juvenile court judge. Based on qualitative data collected during ethnographic fieldwork in the south of France, the article discusses the controversies surrounding the legitimacy and reliability of these “technologies of suspicion,” highlighting the political dimension of judicial practices that involve expert assessments of an individual’s body.


  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Bone age
  • Age assessment
  • Juvenile court judge
  • Technologies of suspicion
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info