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Prologue: Labor days1—an empirical montage from Denmark

Prologue: Labor days1—an empirical montage from Denmark

Chapter:
(p.1) Prologue: Labor days1—an empirical montage from Denmark
Source:
The Absurdity of Bureaucracy
Author(s):
Nina Holm Vohnsen
Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526101341.003.0001

The book opens with a montage of ‘ethnographic snapshots’ which in very different ways exemplifies central aspects of development and planning. Each snapshot is 10-15 lines long and might be a conversation, a dilemma, a scene from a bureaucratic setting, a decision taken or a situation confronted. The prologue will in this manner introduce the reader to the book´s main analytical pair: the numerous attempts to make sensible decisions and the resulting experience of absurdity when confronted with the sum of them. The montage makes use of two writing techniques: American novelist Kurt Vonnegut’s dispensation with ‘beginning, middle and end’ in narratives, and Russian film maker Sergei Eisenstein’s ‘intellectual’ montage – here adapted with American pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce as a principle for destabilizing conclusion.

Keywords:   Montage, Critique, Writing complexity, Non-linearity, Writing against conclusion

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