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Rules, norms, conformity and cheating
Author: Christian Lo

This book is based on a study of the strategies and tactics applied by municipal bureaucrats and local politicians in the pursuit of political goals. The study is set in two small Norwegian municipalities. Here, the enactment of a bureaucracy based on legal-rational authority within a small and close-knit community tend to essentialize some central tension and dilemmas related to how formal and informal relations intersect during the production of public policy. By analyzing the relation between normative and pragmatic rules regulating political action, the author demonstrates how the efforts to resolve these tensions and dilemmas involve a balance between alternative sources of political legitimacy.

Through ethnographic accounts of policy-making in action, the book offers novel perspectives on the interdisciplinary debate about local governance. Most significantly, these accounts demonstrate how processes of hierarchical government are inextricably intertwined with broader processes of governance during policy processes, thereby dissolving the theoretical and normative separation between the two concepts characterizing large parts of the literature. By focusing on the interconnections between government and governance, the author explores the cultural and historical conditions informing this intertwinement, which, the author argues, enable horizontal alignments that can modify the hierarchical logic of bureaucratic organizations.

Through its interdisciplinary approach, the book draws on a range of perspectives from political science, sociology and anthropology. This broad approach makes the book relevant for a wide audience of students and scholars interested in the inner workings of bureaucratic organizations and how such organizations interact with their societal surroundings.

Given the significant similarities and differences between the welfare states of Northern Europe and their reactions to the perceived 'refugee crisis' of 2015, the book focuses primarily on the three main cases of Denmark, Sweden and Germany. Placed in a wider Northern European context – and illustrated by those chapters that also discuss refugee experiences in Norway and the UK – the Danish, Swedish and German cases are the largest case studies of this edited volume. Thus, the book contributes to debates on the governance of non-citizens and the meaning of displacement, mobility and seeking asylum by providing interdisciplinary analyses of a largely overlooked region of the world, with two specific aims. First, we scrutinize the construction of the 2015 crisis as a response to the large influx of refugees, paying particular attention to the disciplinary discourses and bureaucratic structures that are associated with it. Second, we investigate refugees’ encounters with these bureaucratic structures and consider how these encounters shape hopes for building a new life after displacement. This allows us to show that the mobility of specific segments of the world’s population continues to be seen as a threat and a risk that has to be governed and controlled. Focusing on the Northern European context, our volume interrogates emerging policies and discourses as well as the lived experiences of bureaucratization from the perspective of individuals who find themselves the very objects of bureaucracies.

Jarle Trondal, Martin Marcussen, Torbjörn Larsson, and Frode Veggeland

3436 Unpacking international organisations:2833Prelims 22/3/10 14:56 Page 3 1 The bureaucracy of international organisations International bureaucracies are compound systems of public administration that blend departmental, epistemic and supranational decision-making dynamics. The intergovernmental dynamic is seen to be less essential within international bureaucracies. The fact that the departmental dynamic seems to be overwhelmingly present does not mean that other dynamics are absent; rather, the departmental logic seems to be the basis and maybe even the

in Unpacking international organisations
Jarle Trondal, Martin Marcussen, Torbjörn Larsson, and Frode Veggeland

3436 Unpacking international organisations:2833Prelims 22/3/10 14:56 Page 138 7 Supranational dynamics in international bureaucracies Exploring supranational dynamics In this chapter we will investigate how supranational dynamics are played out among civil servants working in the bureaucracies of the WTO, the OECD and the Commission. In order to do this, we need to have a clear understanding of what ‘supranational dynamics’ are. What do we mean by ‘supranationalism’ and what is a ‘supranational mode of governance’? What does it mean to act and behave

in Unpacking international organisations
Jarle Trondal, Martin Marcussen, Torbjörn Larsson, and Frode Veggeland

3436 Unpacking international organisations:2833Prelims 22/3/10 14:56 Page 156 8 Epistemic dynamics in international bureaucracies Science is much more than the mechanical production of data and analysis. Science has become an institution in itself which is loaded with authority and power. Scientific authority bestows its holder with legitimacy and a communicative platform that reaches far beyond the narrow scientific discipline. Scientific power grants access to constituting basic rules for cause and effect, distinguishing right from wrong, categorising

in Unpacking international organisations
Jarle Trondal, Martin Marcussen, Torbjörn Larsson, and Frode Veggeland

3436 Unpacking international organisations:2833Prelims 22/3/10 14:56 Page 111 6 Departmental dynamics in international bureaucracies This chapter demonstrates the existence of a foundational departmental dynamic within all the international bureaucracies studied – both with respect to contact, co-ordination and conflict patterns and to the identity and role perceptions among the personnel. International bureaucracies seem to have enduring impacts on the officials embedded within them. This strongly signifies that the organisational structures of

in Unpacking international organisations
Jarle Trondal, Martin Marcussen, Torbjörn Larsson, and Frode Veggeland

3436 Unpacking international organisations:2833Prelims 22/3/10 14:56 Page 193 10 Complexity and stability in international bureaucracies The normalisation of IO studies What happens when people (including civil servants) enter multi-structural, multi-disciplinary, multi-national and multilingual bureaucracies? The large majority will initially probably be puzzled by the differences, idiosyncrasies and novelty. The routines, procedures, justifications and ways of doing things in international bureaucracies are typically different from national bureaucracies

in Unpacking international organisations
Jarle Trondal, Martin Marcussen, Torbjörn Larsson, and Frode Veggeland

3436 Unpacking international organisations:2833Prelims 22/3/10 14:56 Page 21 2 On the principles of organisation of international bureaucracies Beyond single-case studies there is a surprising dearth of theoretically informed comparative studies of the internal dynamics of international bureaucracies (Barnett and Finnemore 1999; Checkel 2003; Gehring 2003: 4; Gould and Kelman 1970; Johnston 2005; Mouritzen 1990; Reinalda and Verbeek 2004b; Rochester 1986). International bureaucracies – and particularly international civil servants – are the invisible actors

in Unpacking international organisations
How implementation works

This book portrays human beings in Denmark who attempt to produce a meaningful "system" and make sensible decisions, but reproduce a bureaucratic system that at any moment has the potential of appearing utterly absurd. The first two portraits introduce the reader to the municipal and ministerial reality respectively. The randomised controlled trial known as Active-Back Sooner was a central component of the Danish Government's Action Plan on Sickness Benefit. The next two portraits show how upon arrival in one of the municipal units charged with the implementation of the trial, the original project design undergoes mutations. The book documents how contradictory decisions were being made from minute to minute, all generated by attempts to make the interventions sensible and purposeful. It shows how attempts to rectify counterproductive or inexpedient practice the trial's purpose begins to multiply. The book portrays that the recognition of the absurdity of the labor market effort offers a holistic analytical position from which to appreciate the sum total of the labor market effort. The final two portraits follow the privately employed social workers as they do their utmost to make something sensible take place. The fundamental urge to make sensible decisions is the very thing that creates the grounds for institutional absurdity while being in itself the only stable source of meaning.

Barbara Czarniawska

9 Virtual red tape, or digital v. paper bureaucracy Barbara Czarniawska Our everyday Camusian-existential struggle […] is played ‘as if’ it were unfolding within a labyrinth-like bureaucracy, as we wrestle with the increasing complexity of contemporary life, with its spider’s web of rules and regulations, some often contradicting the others. (Warner, 2007: 1028) Framing technology has changed: what about overflows? Before I move to the main topic of my chapter, ‘virtual red tape’ as a new way of framing bureaucratic overflows, a few words about bureaucracy. Max

in Overwhelmed by overflows?