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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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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

The quest for meaning

The quest for meaning

(p.103) 4 The quest for meaning
The Absurdity of Bureaucracy

Nina Holm Vohnsen

Manchester University Press

Chapter 4 follows Active – Back Sooner to one of the private employment agencies, ENGA, where the core delivery of the local version of the trial, the ‘activities’ and the ‘close follow-up’, were meant to take place. This chapter follows the privately employed social workers as they do their utmost to make something sensible take place as they are faced by what they find to be utterly pointless referrals from the municipal caseworkers. The chapter shows what happens when the caseworkers and employees are pushed to the limits of their personal capacities to make sense of what is going on and ultimately stop trying. The chapter concludes that the fundamental urge to make sensible decisions drives the employees to rebel against local directive and agreements. It is the very thing that creates the grounds for institutional absurdity while being in itself the only stable source of meaning.

Keywords:   Institutional absurdity, Meaning-making, Resistance and rebellion, Contracting, Delivery

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