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Migrant Residents in Search of Residences

Locating Structural Violence at the Interstices of Bureaucracies

Megan Sheehan

bureaucracy—at entry, in visa processing, through labor regulations, in accessing housing, and through services like education and health care. The Chilean government has invested heavily in crafting itself as open, welcoming, and multicultural. 1 However

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Postface

Anthropology, bureaucracy and paperwork

Thomas Bierschenk

This postface links the contributions to this special issue to wider concerns in the anthropology of bureaucracy and the history of this disciplinary subfield. Anthropologists focus on documentary practices: how documents are produced, how they are being used (not always in the sense originally given to them by the producers), how they might be ‘brokered’ and how they are being contested – mostly by the production of other documents. The postface points to the epistemological implications of an anthropology of bureaucracy, under the term of ‘complicit positioning’, and argues for acknowledging the double face of bureaucracy and paperwork, as a form of domination and oppression, as well as of protection and liberation, and all the ambivalences this dialectic entails.

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Nonrecording the “European refugee crisis” in Greece

Navigating through irregular bureaucracy

Katerina Rozakou

one police officer named “irregular” bureaucracies: nonrecording practices and modes of dealing with irregular migration in improvised ways. In a setting of “cultural intimacy” ( Herzfeld 1997 ), police officers confided in me as a fellow Greek what

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Mimesis and Conspiracy

Bureaucracy, New Media and the Infrastructural Forms of Doubt

Michael Vine and Matthew Carey

it, contending that the mimetic propensity of conspiracy is not limited to questions of style. Instead, we argue, the encompassing social infrastructure of bureaucracy both delimits and determines the content of conspiratorial thought, while the

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Strategies of Navigation

Migrants' Everyday Encounters with Italian Immigration Bureaucracy

Anna Tuckett

Successful encounters with bureaucratic systems require users to be familiar with 'insider' rules and behaviour. This article examines migrants' everyday efforts to become and stay 'legal' in Italy, and shows how they need to develop particular strategies in order to do so. While these strategies help migrants in the short term, I argue that ultimately they enable the Italian state to reconcile its conflicting interests and reproduce migrants' marginal and insecure status in Italian society. Examining everyday mundane interactions with the state and its bureaucracy reveals the various ways in which state practices produce insecurity.

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Alexandra Schwell

This article explores how the fluctuating cartography of East and West and the varying degrees of perceptive Europeanness influence everyday practices of the people working in Polish state bureaucracies, who professionally advance European integration within a national framework. While an important part of their self-image is formed through the dissociation from cultural 'Eastness' and the backwardness they ascribe to fellow citizens, they still experience negative stereotyping and mistrust from the part of the EU-15 'Westerners'. Consequently, East-Central European state officials oscillate on the continuum between cultural 'East' and 'West' and constantly negotiate distance, relatedness and thus their own liminal position. By scrutinising how Polish state officials aim at positioning themselves on the mental map of Europe, this article shows that they attempt to escape the cultural pattern of negative stereotyping and mistrust by using a functionalist narrative of efficiency. This is a rhetorical strategy employed to cope with existing asymmetries.

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Writing for different audiences

Social workers, irregular migrants and fragmented statehood in Belgian welfare bureaucracies

Sophie Andreetta

In Belgium, depending on their immigration status, foreigners may be entitled to different forms of social assistance, ranging from emergency medical care to financial benefits. In a context where residence permits are constantly updated, re-examined or withdrawn by the administration, this article explores the ways in which welfare bureaucrats deal with irregular migrants. Based on ethnographic fieldwork at welfare offices in French-speaking Belgium, this article shows that documentary practices in welfare bureaucracies have the effect of both restricting access to social assistance and aiding irregular migrants in bringing cases against the administration. This article thus also delves into the double-edged relationship of the social workers to the state by focusing on the competing norms and interpretations of law they encounter on a daily basis.

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Ways of Knowing

Freedom of Information, Access to Persons and 'Flexible' Bureaucracy in Scotland

Gemma John

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 provides access to information held by public bodies in Scotland. This article explores the way in which it also had the capacity to provide access to persons working for these public bodies. It was through engaging with these persons that citizens could obtain access to information under the new law. Nevertheless, the technicalities of the law had the effect of depersonalizing the actions of those working for the public bodies it covered, such that they were no longer visible as 'persons'. This article argues that the proponents of the law prioritized impersonal legal procedure over the personal exchanges that the law facilitated, thereby ultimately undermining their own objective of transparent government.

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Capacity Building as Instrument and Empowerment

Training Health Workers for Community-Based Roles in Ghana

Harriet Boulding

is that of whether it is possible for concepts such as capacity building to retain the political elements of empowerment and social justice when deployed in contexts such as health sector bureaucracies, in which the language and architecture repel the

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Decolonizing Cambridge University

A Participant Observer’s View

Keith Hart

Congress government after 1994. When violent confrontation died down, the issue was transformed into the ‘decolonization’ of university curricula. Academic bureaucracy then took over from private security squads in the management of the process. I have