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The Absurdity of BureaucracyHow Implementation Works$
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Nina Holm Vohnsen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526101341

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526101341.001.0001

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Prologue: Labor days1—an empirical montage from Denmark

Prologue: Labor days1—an empirical montage from Denmark

(p.1) Prologue: Labor days1—an empirical montage from Denmark
The Absurdity of Bureaucracy

Nina Holm Vohnsen

Manchester University Press

The book opens with a montage of ‘ethnographic snapshots’ which in very different ways exemplifies central aspects of development and planning. Each snapshot is 10-15 lines long and might be a conversation, a dilemma, a scene from a bureaucratic setting, a decision taken or a situation confronted. The prologue will in this manner introduce the reader to the book´s main analytical pair: the numerous attempts to make sensible decisions and the resulting experience of absurdity when confronted with the sum of them. The montage makes use of two writing techniques: American novelist Kurt Vonnegut’s dispensation with ‘beginning, middle and end’ in narratives, and Russian film maker Sergei Eisenstein’s ‘intellectual’ montage – here adapted with American pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce as a principle for destabilizing conclusion.

Keywords:   Montage, Critique, Writing complexity, Non-linearity, Writing against conclusion

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