Iraqui Policemen

Bureaucraft: Statemakers in Amman and Baghdad

Headshot of Omar Sirri





We are thrilled to invite you to an upcoming talk by Omar Sirri from the University of Toronto as part of our 2023 seminar series. This seminar is co-sponsored by The Middle East Research Group (Politics and International Relations), Social Anthropology and SKAPE.

Omar will be presenting on “Bureaucraft: Statemakers in Amman and Baghdad”. Here is a brief summary of his talk:

Bakers and soldiers strive to provide subsistence and security to the residents of Amman and Baghdad. Yet neither set of actors is involved in straightforward administrative work; they do not sit behind desks, they rarely push paper. Their enrolment in bureaucratic assemblages and policy enactment takes on an altogether different hue. This article dissects the embodied dexterities deployed by bakers and soldiers as they carry out their jobs at bakeries and checkpoints dotted across the Jordanian and Iraqi capitals. Drawing on ethnographic work, we develop the concept of bureaucraft to analyse the variegated modes of labour without which citizens would lack for some of the most basic of public goods. Taming people and things to make them congenial to the state effect takes a great deal of shrewd manoeuvring. We strive to demonstrate that it requires craft.

Omar Sirri is a research associate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS, University of London. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. His doctoral dissertation, Scarecrows of the State: An Ethnography of Security Checkpoints in Contemporary Baghdad, was named co-winner of the 2022 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences from the Middle East Studies Association.

See you there!



This SKAPE lecture will take place in person at the University of Edinburgh in the Violet Laidlaw Room (6.02), Chrystal Macmillan Building.

Cover photo credit: Headshot photo provided by the speaker


Jan 26 2023


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


University of Edinburgh - Violet Laidlaw Room
Violet Laidlaw Room, 6th Floor, Chrystal Macmillan Building

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