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Nina Holm Vohnsen

The Absurdity of Bureaucracy: How implementation works

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The absurdity of bureaucracy offers a humorous ethnographic account of policy implementation set in contemporary Danish bureaucracy. Taking the reader deep into the hallways of governmental administration and municipal caseworkers' offices, the book sets out to explore what characterizes policy implementation as a mode of human agency. Using the notions of absurdity and sense-making as lenses through which to explore the dynamic relationship between a policy and its effects, the book reclaims 'implementation studies' for the qualitative sciences and emphasizes the existential dilemma that any policymaker and implementer must confront. Following step-by-step the planning and implementation of the randomized controlled trial, Active - Back Sooner, the book sets out to show that 'going wrong' is not a question of implementation failure but is in fact the only way in which implementation may happen.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages185
ISBN (Print)1526101343, 9781526101341
ISBN (Electronic)9781526101365
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2017
SeriesPolitical and administrative ethnography

    Research areas

  • implementation, bureaucracy, absurdity, complexity, non-linearity, public sector, labour market policy, organizational ethnography

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