Government of Paper
The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Urban Pakistan
Other Editions of This Title:
Praise For Government of Paper: The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Urban Pakistan…
"Government of Paper . . . provides a rich apparatus for observing and analyzing the people and activities of bureaucracy in detail. Hull combines linguistic and sociocultural anthropology, in order to closely read details such as arrangements of persons during audiences in offices, the use of specific verb forms by persons according to goal and rank, and so forth. Scholars who work in many settings will profit from careful study of his evidence and interpretation."
— Anthropological Quarterly
"Hull’s book is a landmark ethnography of Pakistani society and should serve as a touchstone for future social research on Pakistan and South Asia. It is a welcome addition to a growing body of fieldwork-based scholarship that works against the grain of reductionist and essentialist representations of Pakistan as a problem to be fixed and, instead, treats its subject, the Pakistani government and people, with attention, care, and respect."
— South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal
"Matthew Hull's much anticipated book on the semiotic technology undergirding Pakistan's bureaucratic state does not disappoint. This is a comprehensive ethnographic portrait of the working of the documentary practices that are central to modern governance, based on many years of close observation in Islamabad's Capital Development Authority (CDA) and keen attention to the material and linguistic details of highly complex processes. . . . An important addition to the recent boom in ethnographies of bureaucracy, and his analytic care and precision make it a text that all students of government will have to contend with."
— Political and Legal Anthropology Review
"Provides a fascinating insight into recordkeeping practices of the CDA and is a powerful statement about understanding the context in which records are created and used."
— Archives and Manuscripts
"An elegantly composed and rigorously argued ethnography."
— HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory
University of California Press, 9780520272156, 320pp.
Publication Date: June 5, 2012