Call for Contributions: Emotions and Bureaucracy - vol. 3 of Administory


In recent years, historians have increasingly turned towards a cultural history of bureaucracy. Drawing on works in micro-sociology and political science, they cast a fresh look at bureaucratic governance, informed more by a theory of social practice than by a normative concept of bureaucratic rationality. They look at networks, attitudes, loyalties, forms of knowledge and affiliations - to name just a few analytical perspectives on the production of state knowledge and its use in bureaucratic decision-making.

While much of this work challenges Max Weber’s classic depiction of bureaucratic governance as a formalized, hierarchical form of social governance, studies on the history and sociology of public administration have paid less attention to questions of emotions; assuming that bureaucratic systems seek to neutralize personal attachments and emotional investments. Yet, in the age of bureaucratic governance civil servants and other bureaucrats continually had to combine their role as professional and subservient state servants with their personal attachments to family, their fellow citizens, other officials and the state. This could trigger serious internal conflicts, but it also spawned creative ways of incorporating emotional attachments into the daily practice of governance.

In a traditional perspective on bureaucratic governance, emotional attachments only become visible through the “cracks” of modern bureaucratic systems (moments in which bureaucrats cannot live up to the formal expectations of their profession). However, the significance of this model of emotion-suppression has already been challenged in many other fields of study. For instance, within legal studies law and emotion has been already established as a specialized field of inquiry. In this area, authors focus not so much on the suppression of emotions in decision making processes, but rather look at the integration of emotions in the programming of judicial procedures. We, similarly seek to adopt a broader approach to bureaucratic subjectivity by analyzing “emotional practices” and their integration in bureaucratic procedure from various interconnected perspectives in order to make a valuable contribution to the cultural history of bureaucracy.  We therefore like to take the debates within law and emotion as well as the current discussions in cultural studies perspectives on emotions as inspirations for a new approach towards public administration.

Two ways to think about the role of emotions in bureaucratic practices are:

•    The Emotions of Citizens: In which settings did citizens’ emotions become objects of bureaucratic knowledge and procedure? When were they objectified, pathologized (e.g. grousers), or even instrumentalized (e.g. patriotism, volunteerism, hate against enemies of the state) by bureaucrats when dealing with citizens?

•    The emotions of bureaucrats: How were emotions mobilized for bureaucratic work, were emotions regulated or even part of the normative expectations towards public officials? Were emotions functional for the division of labor within the administration? When were officials’ emotions problematic and how was their in-/exclusion in bureaucratic practice negotiated?

The yearbook publishes original contributions in English and German. Because we publish only online we are rather flexible regarding the length of your contribution. So far, our authors have submitted articles within a range of 60.000 to 100.000 characters including spaces and footnotes.

If you intend to contribute to this volume, please submit a title and a short abstract by April 30, 2017 to

For more information on the yearbook:

Veröffentlicht: 2017-02-02

Administory. Band 1: Verwaltungsgeschichte im Dialog - Jetzt verfügbar!

ADMINISTORY. Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsgeschichte
Band 1

Verwaltungsgeschichte im Dialog
Administrative History in 

 Was haben Niklas Luhmann und der Hühnermann mit der Verwaltungsgeschichte zu tun? Wir sehen die künstlerische Strategie dieser Collage als Analogie zur interdisziplinären Beschäftigung mit Verwaltung: Die Begegnung mit dem Hühnermann steht für einen transdisziplinären Dialog, der mit Aneignungen und Verfremdungen operiert, um das konzeptuell Andere in die eigene Forschungswelt zu integrieren.

Veröffentlicht: 2016-05-10
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