bureacracy and emotion – Bauman


“…the wholly unanticipated but ominous reshaping of social/moral catastrophes in the likeness of unmanageable natural disasters was, paradoxically, an  unintended yet in all probability unavoidable product of the modern struggle to render the world transparent, predictable, regular, continuous and manageable.” (p.86)

“…modern bureacracy […] strove to place the office off-limits to human emotions, to spiritual bonds stretching beyond the office walls, to loyalties to purposes other than those officially authorized, and to rules of conduct recommended by authorities other than the office statute books. Loyalty to the esprit de corps was to be enough to ground the ethical code regulating the totality of bureaucratic procedure; as with all other ethical codes claiming endorsement from on high, it neither tolerated competition nor allowed renegotiation. Bureaucracy required conformity to the rule, not a moral judgement. […] Bureaucracy was a contraption serving the task of ethical deskilling.
The performance of an organization managing to come close to the ideal type of bureaucracy would be independent of whatever might still remain of the moral conscience of its officers. And since bureaucracy stood for the supreme embodiments of rationality and order, it also targeted morally inspired behaviour as opposed to, or even incompatible with, the idea of order and the precepts of reason.
Bureaucracy […] effectively replace ‘responsibility for‘ with ‘responsibility to‘….” (p.87)

Ref: (italics in original; emphases in blue bold, mine) Zygmunt Bauman (2006) Liquid Fear. Polity Press: Cambridge, UK


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