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At Home with the DiplomatsInside a European Foreign Ministry$
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Iver B. Neumann

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449932

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449932.001.0001

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The Bureaucratic Mode of Knowledge Production

The Bureaucratic Mode of Knowledge Production

(p.63) 3 The Bureaucratic Mode of Knowledge Production
At Home with the Diplomats

Iver B. Neumann

Cornell University Press

This chapter details the author's experiences as a rookie in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). He first arrived at the Norwegian MFA to work as a planner, and was expected to pick up the skill of writing in the bureaucratic mode with no delay. Since the ministry produces a large number of speeches for its ministers, its state secretaries, and also its senior civil servants, it was no coincidence that his first assignment was as a speechwriter. The author describes how, through no fault of any one individual, a bureaucracy left to its own devices will produce texts that resemble their predecessors and one another. The main reasons are that texts are the result of teamwork; that the model for teamwork is previous texts; and that the process of producing the text is inner-driven, so that little or no heed is paid to audience, circumstances of delivery, political effects, and other matters external to the ministry itself.

Keywords:   foreign service, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, diplomats, diplomatic career, speech writing

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