Corruption, futility and madness: relating Gogol’s portrayal of bureaupathology to an accountability era

Samier, Eugenie and Lumby, Jacky (2008) Corruption, futility and madness: relating Gogol’s portrayal of bureaupathology to an accountability era. In, Biennial Conference of the Commonwealth Council for Education Administration, Durban, South Africa, 08 - 11 Sep 2008. 14pp.


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This paper explores the insights literature can bring to administrative and bureaucratic critique, focusing on the work of Nikolai Gogol. Gogol's satire of bureaucracy presages many subsequent social science analyses, presenting a severe indictment of bureaucracy as a rigid and impersonal state machine producing meaninglessness, absurdity, and tragedy. These encompass the institutional level and fundamental ruptures in society caused by a surfeit of bureaucracy in "The Nose." On a more psychological level, "The Overcoat" explores the effects of bureaucratisation on the individual, portraying the alienation, futile activity and servility caused in lower level functionaries through problems of loss of identity, the absence of meaningful work, and a lack of separation between public and private life. This paper uses Gogol's work to intensify and sharpen an exploration of the pathological responses of educational administrators and policy makers to an accountability era of burgeoning bureaucracy.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: educational administration, leadership, bureaucracy, aesthetic critique, gogol
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Leadership, School Improvement and Effectiveness
ePrint ID: 63283
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
September 2008Delivered
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:47

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