1932

Abstract

This review presents new perspectives on the anthropology of bureaucracy. Since Weber's account of the importance of this organizational mode to the functioning of contemporary socioeconomic systems, the inescapability of bureaucracy has been repeatedly theorized to show its good and ill effects. Yet anthropologists retain an ambivalent relation to this topic and can struggle to move beyond critique. I consider this ambivalence, suggesting that it reflects a frustrated desire for better governance, and offer neglected topics as potentially productive ways to tackle bureaucracy as an omnipresent yet difficult-to-pinpoint cultural form. Finally, the review makes the case for an impenitently anthropological approach to the fullness of bureaucracy, including testing the ethnographer's founding categories of thought, over a position of pure denunciation or evaluation.

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2021-10-21
2024-04-16
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