This panel aims at enriching studies of African bureaucrats and professional cultures through the question of emotions at work.
The panel objective is to enrich and extend studies of African bureaucrats through the question of feelings and emotions at work. The archetypal figure of the authoritarian bureaucrat, which dates back to colonisation, does not leave much room for more nuanced and complex analyses based on the actors' practices and reflexivity. Two lines of research could be developed :
-Emotions and feelings as effects of the work itself : as elsewhere, African bureaucrats at work have to face stress, fear, pity, disgust, compassion… Which strategies do they possibly pursue then ? Moreover, how do they deal with the day-to-day contradictions of working in under-staffed and under-equipped services and how do their feelings inform us about their professional practices and cultures ?
-Emotions as working instruments : many professions rely on prescribed emotions and codes of conduct. How do they are understood and put into practice, despite evidence for privilegism, favors and corruption in the bureaucratic relationship ? Asides, development projects and managerial reforms tend to impose new « feeling rules » : the participative approach and its derivatives imply a break with the model of the authoritative bureaucrat. What are the consequences of these new norms on professional practices, cultures and imaginaries ?
Labzaé Mehdi (Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)