News

LEGS Seminar

Yael Berda, Ph.D. candidate, Sociology

Administrative Memory and Colonial Legacies

November 30, 2009, 4:30 - 6 PM, Kerstetter Room, Marx Hall

In the LEGS seminar on 30 November, Yael Berda will present "Administrative Memory and Colonial Legacies: a comparative analysis of bureaucratic practices in the field of population management and border control in Israel, India and Cyprus."

The paper can be dowloaded here (password required).

Here is Yael 's abstract:

This project seeks to understand the ways in which the legacies of colonial bureaucracies have shaped and impacted the organizational logics and regulatory/legal repertoires of state bureaucracies in the post colonies of Israel, Cyprus and India, following the regime change from the colonial states to nascent democratic states.  Max Weber writes of bureaucratic continuity following regime change: "Even in the case of revolution by force or of occupation by an enemy, the bureaucratic machinery will normally continue to function just as it has for the previous legal government" (Weber, 1978:143). Unfortunately he does not elaborate on this insight. An alternative hypothesis to the cost - effective explanation of availability as the impetus for colonial continuity is that administrative legacies are perpetuated through a set of institutional logics, which provide a template of categories, practices and strategies of action. These explain why agents of the Postcolonial states take over categories and symbolic frameworks that they strove to delegitimize.

Administrative memory: I term this dynamic agglomeration of processes, mechanisms, epistemologies, templates of classification, strategies of action and symbolic events in an organization, that can be traced back to administrations in a previous regime in a specific locale, "Administ. "Administrative memory" provides a conceptual framework for studying mechanisms that expose the relationships between micro organizational and institutional processes and macro political events that enable the continuity or discontinuity of bureaucratic practices following a major regime change.