Power, policy and paperwork: The bureaucratic representation of interests

Wendy N Espeland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This article compares how five government documents evaluate a proposed dam in Central Arizona. One of the consequences of this dam would be to force a small Native American community from their ancestral land. Spanning almost forty years, these documents illustrate changes in how a federal agency legitimated these projects and their negative social impacts to different audiences. These records are used here to argue for the importance of careful textual analysis of bureaucratic paperwork, as an additional form of understanding the multiple dimensions of social, economic, and political power over disempowered groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-317
Number of pages21
JournalQualitative Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1993


  • Yavapai
  • dams
  • government documents
  • power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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