Language, Bureaucracy and Social Control  book cover
1st Edition

Language, Bureaucracy and Social Control

ISBN 9780582086227
Published August 21, 1996 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Language, Bureaucracy and Social Control explores the varying inter-relationships between language, forms of bureaucratic organisation and social control. The text provides a detailed examination of the discursive dimensions of some of the key techniques of modern power: the 'productive' surveillance practices of administrative and public service institutions. Special attention is paid to recent developments within the state domain and the private economy such as the introduction of consumerism and promotional practices in welfare institutions, and the spread of bureaucratisation in contexts such as banking and education.

Table of Contents


1. Language, bureaucracy and social control
Bureacracy and social control
Language and bureaucracy

2. Bureaucratisation and debureaucratisation in contemporary society
Introduction: what discourse practices are construed as bureaucratic?
Bureaucratisation and debureaucratisation
Changing discourse practices as action and as process
The analysis of language use
The language-situation dynamic
Social control as an area of struggle

3. The pragmatics of information exchange in bureaucratic discourse
Introduction: information exchange as a focus of study
Bureaucrats seeking information and clients giving it
Interpreting information exchange in pragmatic terms
Reversing the roles: clients seeking information and institutions avoiding giving information
Conclusion: regulated information exchange and social control

4. Role behaviour in discourse
Modes of talk and multiple role behaviour
Discourse roles
Shifting role relationships and the construction of social identities
Role perception in discourse

5. The client's perspective: clients as citizens
Challenging the inhuman face of bureaucracy
Creating an edge over the institution
Talking to bureaucrats in order to maintain non-clienthood
Client's response to institutional failure: the case of lost mail

6. The bureaucrat's perspective: citizens as clients
Alarming the client
Maintaining bureaucracy through official documents: forms and leaflets

7. The discourse of mediation: bureaucrats' dilemma and clients' wisdom
Social workers attemting to redress the imbalance
Counselling institutions
Institutional monopolies over mediation
Conclusion: socio-economic struggles over multi-tier bureaucracy

8. Instead of a conclusion


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