States at work : dynamics of African bureaucracies / edited by Thomas Bierschenk, Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan.

Bierschenk, Thomas [Browse]
  • Brill 2014
  • Boston : Brill, 2014.
1 online resource (454 p.)


  • African-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies (Series) ; v. 12. [More in this series]
  • Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1574-6925 ; volume 12
Summary note
States at Work explores the mundane practices of state-making in Africa by focusing on the daily functioning of public services and the practices of civil servants. Adopting mainly an ethnographic approach as a basis for theorizing, the authors deal with topics including: bureaucratic cultures and practical norms, operational routines in offices, career patterns and modes of appointment; how bureaucrats themselves perceive and deliver goods and services and interact with service users; the accumulation of public administration reforms and how the different bureaucratic corps react to the ‘good governance’ discourse and new public management policies; the consequences of these reforms for the daily working of state bureaucracies and for the civil servants’ identities and modes of accountability; and the space that exists for bottom-up micro-reforms that build on local innovations or informal arrangements.
Includes index.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Source of description
Description based on print version record.
Language note
  • Studying the dynamics of African bureaucracies : an introduction to states at work / Thomas Bierschenk and Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan
  • Ethnographies of public services in Africa : an emerging research paradigm / Thomas Bierschenk and Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan
  • Seeing like a state agent : the ethnography of reform in Senegal's forestry services / Giorgio Blundo
  • Factionalism and staff success in a Nigerian university : a departmental case study / Chris Willott
  • Working in neopatrimonial settings : public sector staff perceptions in Tanzania and Uganda / Ole Therkildsen
  • "We make do and keep going!" Inventive practices and ordered informality in the functioning of the district courts in Niamey snd Zinder (Niger) / Oumarou Hamani
  • "I take an oath to the state, not the government" : career trajectories and professional ethics of Ghanaian public servants / Carola Lentz
  • "We must run while others walk" : African civil servants, state ideologies and bureaucratic practices in Tanzania, from the 1950s to the 1970s / Andreas Eckert
  • Sedimentation, fragmentation and normative double-binds in (West) African public services / Thomas Bierschenk
  • The politics of reform: a case study of bureaucracy at the ministry of basic education in Cameroon / Helene Charton
  • Building state capacities? The case of the poverty reduction unit in Mali / Isaline Bergamaschi
  • A breeding ground for revenue reliability? Cameroonian veterinary agents and tax officials in the face of reform / Jose-Maria Munoz
  • Old-school bureaucrats and technocrats in Malawi : civil service reform in practice / Gerhard Anders
  • Teachers unions and the selective appropriation of public service reforms in Benin / Azizou Chabi Imorou
  • The state that works : a 'pockets of effectiveness' perspective on Nigeria and beyond / Michael Roll
  • The delivery state in Africa : interface bureaucrats, professional cultures and the bureaucratic mode of governance / Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan.
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