Plenarveranstaltung II / Plenary session II: Bureaucratic closings - Bureaucratic openings

"Bureaucratic space-times: on proliferation, cryptobiosis, and other contingent practices of land management institutions in Lesotho"

Sprecher / Speaker:

Colin Hoag (Smith College, USA)

Scholars  often  locate  the  negotiability  of  bureaucracy  outside  of  formal  procedures,  in  the “informal” practices and interactions between bureaucrats and those outside. This paper explores closure  as  related  to  formal  procedures, specifically,  in  the  way  different  document  genres  and genre  systems  distribute  capacities  to  recognize  relations  and  categorizations.  This  problem  is discussed  with  reference  to  the  practices  that  allow people  to  hold  land  in  urban  South  Asia. Property  is  a  kind  of  holding  that  is  closely  related  to  the  way  different  documents  and configurations of documents enable bureaucratic closure. In understanding property, we should shift from a liberal emphasis onthe bundling of certain rights to the documentary distribution of recognition of claims that people make on some patch of the world. Empirically, this extends our view  from  bureaucratic  documents  explicitly  addressing  the  legal  property  claims  (e.g.  deeds, 2titles), to the para-¬documentation (e.g. utility bills, newspaper delivery receipts) that is so often decisive in allowing people to claim and hold land.

Datum: Montag, 30. September 2019