The Bureaucratization of the World in the Neoliberal Era
- Histogram of normal and no normal distribution
The Bureaucratization of the World in the Neoliberal Era, An International and Comparative Perspective
by Béatrice Hibou
Palgrave Macmillan, May 2015
At the point where Max Weber meets Michel Foucault, Béatrice Hibou analyzes the political dynamics underlying a set of norms, rules, and procedures that form contemporary beurocracy. Neoliberal bureaucracy is a vector of discipline and control: even more, it produces social and political indifference.
Under the pretext of depoliticization, this trend cannot hide the exercise of normalizing and excluding power. Bureaucratization is not something external to society: it unfolds through the very same actors who are its target and who, consciously or not, play an essential role in this process. Operating as it does through individuals, bureaucratization does not come 'from above': it is a much wider process of 'bureaucratic participation', a response to the need to voice material and vested interests and give answers to legitimate demands, as well as expressing the quest for efficiency, but it also reflects day-to-day conflicts and negotiations between actors. In this way, bureaucratic participation is constructed through power relations, and paradoxically relies on informalities that alone make the neoliberal art of government possible.
Béatrice Hibou is a CNRS researcher at the Sciences Po Centre for International Studies - CERI. Based on political economy, her comparative research focuses on imperial fabrics, State formation, political orders, modes of domination, collective action and comparative historical sociology of the economy. She also dedicates a number of studies to political organisation in Africa.
She has published a number of books related to these issues : The Force of Obedience: the Political Economy of Repression in Tunisia (2011, Cambridge) ; Privatizing the State (2004, Hurst-Columbia University Press) ; The Criminalization of the State in Africa (co-ed., 1998, Bloomington-Indiana University Press)