BUREAUCRAFT: Statemakers in Amman and Baghdad

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Bakers and soldiers strive to provide subsistence and security to the residents of Amman and Baghdad. Neither set of actors is involved in straightforward administrative work; they do not sit behind desks, they rarely push paper. They are instead enrolled in bureaucratic assemblages colored with an altogether different hue. This article dissects the embodied dexterities deployed by bakers and soldiers as they carry out their jobs at bakeries and checkpoints dotted across the Jordanian and Iraqi capitals. Drawing on ethnographic work, we develop the concept of bureaucraft to analyze the variegated modes of labor without which citizens would lack for some of the most basic of public goods. Taming people and things to make them congenial to the state effect takes a great deal of shrewd maneuvering. We strive to demonstrate that it requires craft.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-410
Number of pages25
JournalCultural Anthropology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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