Monday 30 June 2008


... to the Creative Bureaucracy blog, a Comedia blog about all things bureaucratic.

For a while now we at Comedia have been thinking about what makes bureaucracies tick, in ways good and bad. What is the make up of 'the bureaucratic mindset,' if such a singularity exists? Can we identify ways in which bureaucrats can be encouraged to think differently - more imaginatively perhaps - to tackle the problems they encounter on a day-to-day basis? What, in fact, do we mean by 'bureaucracy'? We all use the word fairly glibly, but while we are comfortable with the sign, there is little clarity regarding the referent: Do we mean a group of people ('bureaucrats'), 'red tape' (rules/regulations, paperwork and its computerised equivalents, etc), a way of doing things, a system (the '-cracy' bit), all of the above +?

In English at least the word 'bureaucracy' connotes more negative associations than positive and is often used pejoratively. But here we want to encourage a more neutral conception of the term. Bureaucracies happen and have been with us as long as civilization itself. They arise in any organization given a certain size and level of complexity. As such, they are not confined to public works as anyone who has worked in a large company will bear witness.

This, then, is not any sort of anti-bureaucracy blog nor is it intended to be a repository of moans. The point is to note ways in which bureaucracies can be made more palatable, effective and sometimes even creative, and to disseminate these. But anything goes. We're interested in bureaucracy professionally, academically, culturally, informally, philosophically, psychologically... You get the drift. We will post accounts of our own experiences (in both our work and personal lives), thoughts, strange encounters, cultural references - anything centrally or vaguely relating to bureaucracy really. And we encourage anyone vaguely moved to respond to do so with reactions (antagonistic welcome, weird-aggressive less so), observations, suggestions and thoughts negative, positive, obscure, funny, surreal.

This blog is in its earliest stages and no doubt will evolve into forms previously unforeseen by us. Watch this space for the first 'proper' post.