Hidden Attractions of Administration : The Peculiar Appeal of Meetings and Documents book cover
1st Edition

Hidden Attractions of Administration
The Peculiar Appeal of Meetings and Documents

  • Available for pre-order on December 19, 2022. Item will ship after January 9, 2023
ISBN 9780367622268
January 9, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
170 Pages 4 Color & 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781003108436, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

This book argues that the expansion of administrative activities in today’s working life is driven not only by pressure from above, but also from below. The authors examine the inner dynamics of people-processing organizations—those formally working for clients, patients, or students—to uncover the hidden attractions of doing administrative work, despite all the complaints and laments about "too many meetings" or "too much paperwork." There is something appealing to those compelled to participate in today’s constantly multiplying and expanding administration that defies popular framings of it as merely pressure from above. Hidden Attractions of Administration shows in detail the emotional attractiveness, moral conflicts, and almost magical features that administrative tasks often entail in today’s organizations, supported by ethnographic studies consisting of over 200 qualitative interviews and participant observations from ten organizational settings and contexts across Sweden. The authors also question and complement explanations in administration-related research that have previously been taken for granted, arguing that it is a simplification to attribute all aspects of the change to New Public Management and instead taking into account what the classic sociologist Georg Simmel called an Eigendynamik: a self-reinforcing tendency that, under certain circumstances, needs only a nudge in an administrative direction to get going. By applying ethnography to issues of bureaucratization and meeting cultures and by drawing on findings in emotional sociology and social anthropology, this volume contributes to both the sociology of work and the study of human service organizations and will appeal to scholars and students working across both areas.

Table of Contents

1. Eigendynamik  2. The administration society  3. Seductive gatherings  4. Sneaky work and aways  5. A spark of magic  6. Beauty and boost  7. Spirals of meetings and documents  8. Dramatizing administrative skills  9. Muddy transparency  10. The devotion to teaching  11. Magic, emotions, and morality

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Malin Åkerström is a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology, Lund University, Sweden.

Katarina Jacobsson is a professor of social work in the School of Social Work, Lund University, Sweden.

Erika Andersson Cederholm is an associate professor in the Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Lund University, Sweden.

David Wästerfors is a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology, Lund University, Sweden.


'The theses presented in Hidden Attractions of Administration can be a mirror in which the actions of administration employees reflect in a real, attractive, and obvious way ... The book will certainly be interesting reading for all teachers, medical staff, social workers, managers, and so on, and students who will work in public administration institutions in the future.' - Beata Pawlowska, Symbolic Interaction