- Illegibility as a state effect
- The limits of governing teacher identification in the Democratic Republic of Congo
T.A. Lopes Cardozo
T. De Herdt
- Award date
- 27 February 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
State administrations rely on knowledge about its employees in order to ensure transparent payroll management. This thesis investigates the political economy and social dynamics around such knowledge by focusing on public school teachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After a calamitous social and economic decade in the 1990s and early 2000s, international donors framed non-transparent public payrolls as fiduciary risk and pursued teacher identification, for example through a census. However, as of 2016, a significant number of teachers remained unregistered by the state administration. Empirically based on 14 months of ethnographic research and discourse analyses, and theoretically building on Tania Murray Li and the notion of permanent provocation, the thesis traces the pursuit of teacher identification in the DRC in government and donor documents since the 1970s. The thesis then explores how the following dynamics pose a limit to teacher identification: (1) long-standing administrative practices, (2) decentralisation and democratisation, (3) the challenge to penetrate the Congolese territory, (4) teacher transfers, and (5) armed conflict. My findings suggest that teacher illegibility – the lack of state knowledge on teachers – is not only a sign of a deficient state but can be a proper state effect. Most crucially, the thesis argues that the constant pursuit of teacher identification has strengthened state authority despite poor performance in public service delivery. Thereby, it contributes to a better understanding of the intricacies of teacher governance, and of the multiple relations between education systems, state authority and the international development industry.
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.