SASC Colloquium: Good Bureaucrats and God: The Ethical Labor of the Public , Maira Hayat

Event time: 
Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Online () See map
Event description: 

Bureaucracies tend to feature in political and social theory as sites of structural violence, patriarchy, sovereign excess, or foils to an ethical enterprise. This talk, however, argues for the unique importance of studying bureaucracy as a site of ethical laboring. Tracing the specific, surprising, and sophisticated ways in which God participates in everyday bureaucratic practice in an Irrigation Department in Pakistan shows how bureaucrats’ attempts to be “good Muslims” can produce “good bureaucrats.” The yield is a deeper understanding of how state officials experience and navigate the pull of the ‘private’ in everyday ‘public’ work, and how this, in turn, determines the service they provide. In foregrounding ethical laboring, the talk brings together the anthropology of bureaucracy, state, and secularity towards newer configurations.
Maira Hayat is an assistant professor of environment and peace studies in the Keough School’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and a concurrent faculty member in the Department of Anthropology. She conducts research at the intersection of bureaucracy, law, and the environment, drawing on ethnographic and archival methods.

Maira Hayat, Anthropology, University of Notre Dame