Course Schedule


Atmospheres of Bureaucracy (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Lydia Jørgensen

Einzeltermin | Fr, 11.11.2022, 14:00 - Fr, 11.11.2022, 18:00 | C 14.201 Seminarraum | Kick-off
Einzeltermin | Sa, 12.11.2022, 10:00 - Sa, 12.11.2022, 14:00 | C 14.201 Seminarraum | .
Einzeltermin | Do, 24.11.2022, 16:00 - Do, 24.11.2022, 20:00 | C 40.530 Seminarraum | .
Einzeltermin | Fr, 02.12.2022, 14:00 - Fr, 02.12.2022, 18:00 | Online-Veranstaltung | Online
Einzeltermin | Fr, 16.12.2022, 14:00 - Fr, 16.12.2022, 18:00 | C 14.201 Seminarraum | .
Einzeltermin | Fr, 03.02.2023, 14:00 - Fr, 03.02.2023, 20:00 | C 14.201 Seminarraum | .

Inhalt: The seminar aims to provide students with theories and concepts to critically examine the modulation and management of ‘atmospheres of bureaucracy’. The students are asked to conduct fieldwork-based analysis of atmospheres in/of bureaucracies, their affective constitution and consequences. Bureaucracies in many ways form the backbone of democratic rights and obligations in contemporary western societies, such as organizing elections, signing up for exams or providing welfare benefits. Following Weber’s seminal text on bureaucracies as rule based and impersonal, bureaucracies have tended to be portrayed as a rational way of organizing, that is affectively neutral. Yet, as Foucault argues, state 'governmentality' is intertwined with power relations and (self)disciplining humans. Taking a socio-cultural approach to bureaucracy, is a way to address the organization of affective relations and critically engage with e.g., the dehumanization of bureaucracy or recent neo-liberal reforms drawing on atmospheric qualities. Accordingly, this seminar seeks to investigate how bureaucracy is part of producing, inciting and organizing a complex set of affective relations, and asks how we can understand bureaucracies as an organizational atmospherics. Just consider how your interactions with the bureaucratic apparatus during the Corona pandemic have had you experience frustration, relief, anxiety, security, or something else. Or how these interactions have (affectively) resonated across societies and politically. At the level of these everyday practices, affective relations are made that shape our lives, but also evoke political reactions. Willed or not bureaucracies take part in organizing a sense experience, they make atmospheres emanate that condition and are conditioned at the same time. Atmospheres that accentuate power relations, which unfold as part of affective organizing and may raise questions of critique and resistance. Inquiring atmospheres of bureaucracy means studying how affective atmospheres play out in everyday interactions, documents, and spaces of bureaucracy. Investigating atmospheres of bureaucracy therefore articulates the configuration of social realities through sense experiences as a major force, how they are central in the socio-cultural development of society and how they may reflect political considerations. The seminar is dedicated to both understanding and exploring these developments. Its aim is to, conceptually and methodologically, equip students with a basic understanding of ‘atmospheres of bureaucracy’ as first and foremost an embodied and atmospheric phenomenon that can be manifested spatially, through everyday practices and encounters.