Digital identity systems are not devised for their own sake, rather they are developed by institutions as part of their pursuit of specific goals—such as economic, social, and developmental outcomes through enabling individual rights and facilitating access to basic services and entitlements. A growing number of organizations and institutions are advancing specific principles, frameworks, and “imaginaries” of what “good” digital identity looks like—yet it is often not clear how much influence they have or what their underlying worldview is to those designing, developing, and deploying these systems. This paper introduces sociopolitical configurations as a means of studying these underlying worldviews. Sociopolitical configurations combine elements from technological frames, expectations, and imaginations as well as developmental discourses to provide a basis for critically examining three key documents in this space.

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