Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Policing the FrontierAn Ethnography of Two Worlds in Niger$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mirco Göpfert

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501747212

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501747212.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 28 June 2022

Tragic Work

Tragic Work

(p.125) Chapter 9 Tragic Work
Policing the Frontier

Mirco Göpfert

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the narrative of the frontier, of the gendarmes' being caught between les textes and le social, between bureaucratic form and lived life—in a lack of resolution. There is nothing beyond this tension, no safe space where the gendarmes can find certainty and protection; there is no bureaucratic haven. This tension is even accentuated by the different and often conflicting expectations of civilians, prosecutors, and the gendarmes' superiors. The gendarmes' mandate is ultimately unaccomplishable, their task impossible. The bureaucratic drama thus created both communitas and isolation at the same time. It created communitas among the gendarmes through their shared sense of frustration. But it also caused a sense of isolation as tragic creatures, with neither catastrophe nor catharsis in sight. Indeed, the gendarme is a bureaucratic Sisyphus: a frontier figure tasked with the impossible project of closing the frontier.

Keywords:   gendarmes, bureaucratic form, lived life, bureaucracy, bureaucratic drama, civilians, prosecutors

Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.