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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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School bureaucracy, ethnography and culture

Conceptual obstacles to doing ethnography in schools

Ángel Díaz de Rada

The object of this essay is to offer a reflection on the obstacles that block the ethnographic intent when we try to do ethnography in school institutions. These obstacles are presented conceptually with reference to three main axes that shape school as a bureaucratic reality: school as a hypertrophied medium of individualistic codifying, school as a universalist and instrumentalist device, and school as a device to restrict the cultural field. These ideas are illustrated by means of some empirical examples, the majority of which come from an ongoing investigation in Guovdageaidnu, in northern Norway.

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Nonrecording the “European refugee crisis” in Greece

Navigating through irregular bureaucracy

Katerina Rozakou

what 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

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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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Ethnographic Engagement with Bureaucratic Violence

Erin R. Eldridge and Amanda J. Reinke

Defying commonly held perceptions, anthropological studies have revealed that bureaucracies are not simply mundane, stagnant administrative structures. They are, as Anya Bernstein and Elizabeth Mertz argue, interactive sociocultural worlds where

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Novices in bureaucratic regimes

Learning to be a claimant in the United Kingdom

Michelle Obeid

bureaucracy say about the British: The British are straight ( dughry) ! [The official] may feel for you, and there is a lot of respect, but the rules stay the same. You want to live in their country, you have to play by their rules. But I feel like a

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Mimesis and Conspiracy

Bureaucracy, New Media and the Infrastructural Forms of Doubt

Michael Vine and Matthew Carey

observation and expands 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

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Capacity Building as Instrument and Empowerment

Training Health Workers for Community-Based Roles in Ghana

Harriet Boulding

from this perspective 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

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The Magic of Bureaucracy

Repatriation as Ceremony

Laura Peers

magic of bureaucracy that ultimately effects the repatriation. Repatriation is a series of performances, formal institutional and cultural rituals, that articulate and reinforce, as well as challenge, identities and relations of power. Museums, as

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Decolonizing Cambridge University

A Participant Observer’s View

Keith Hart

National 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