Accepted Paper:

From political violence to institutional damage: Mogalakwena a municipality in silence  


Thomas Lesaffre (Public Affaire Research Institut )

Paper short abstract:

The presentation will consider “bureaucrat emotions” as data set in order to analyze institutional failure, reproduction, or resistance

Paper long abstract:

Based on two years' research conducted in South Africa around the relation between local governance and political violence, this presentation aims to emphasize the role of an administrator's emotions in institutional change or reproduction at a local level.

In Mogalakwena, violence between different ruling party factions has led to tremendous stress for bureaucrats. The presentation will explore how new political factions re-enforce their power into administration in order to define the relation between emotions and institutional reproduction/change at a micro level. In a context where the fundamental freedom to talk or express memories and ideas is forgiven; emotions have to be considered as a data base in order to understand the maintenance and reproduction of institutions.

By looking at the administrative side of the political violence, the author will show and define the deeply damaging effect that produces this violence in what should be a routinized bureaucratic environment. After observing the transformation and the re-enforcement inside the institutions of a power base on violence to a disciplinary power, the presentation will consider "bureaucrat emotions" as data set in order to analyze institutional failure in order to organize and reduce uncertainty around bureaucrat transactions.

The presentation will argue that the suffering that officials were enduring to see the erosion of rules as well as organizational routines that they had put in place can be understood as a way for the disciplinary power to re-insert violence in to the institutions.

Panel P080
African bureaucrats and emotions at work