Bureaucracy: A Love Story

Edited by Gabriel Cervantes, Dahlia Porter, Ryan Skinnell, and Kelly Wisecup

Bureaucracy usually only becomes visible when it stops working—when a system fails, for instance, or when someone points to a glitch in a carefully calibrated workflow. But Bureaucracy: A Love Story draws together research done by scholars and students in the Special Collections at the University of North Texas to illuminate how bureaucracy structures our contemporary lives. People have navigated bureaucracy for centuries, by creating and using various literary and rhetorical forms—from indexes to alphabetization to diagrams to blanks—that made it possible to efficiently process large amounts of information. Contemporary bureaucracy is likewise concerned with how to collect and store information, to circulate it efficiently, and to allow easy access. We are interested in the conventional definition of bureaucracy as a form of ordering and control connected to institutions and the state, but we also want to uncover how people interact—often in creative ways—with the material forms of bureaucracy.

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