Publication Details

Martin, B., Callaghan, S., Fox, C., Wells, R. and Cawte, M. (1997). Challenging Bureaucratic Elites. Wollongong: Schweik Action Wollongong.

Additional Publication Information

Schweik Action Wollongong is named after Jaroslav Hasek's fictional character Schweik (or Svejk), a soldier who created havoc in the Austrian army during World War I by pretending to be extremely stupid. Most of the work on this project was done by Brian Martin, Sharon Callaghan and Chris Fox, with help from Rosie Wells. Mary Cawte wrote the section on Netherlands bureaucracies under the Nazis. A number of people gave valuable comments on the case studies and the text, including Tim Anderson, Eileen Baldry, Patricia Brennan, Robert Burrowes, Roger Clarke, Richard Dunn, Marc Hulst, Les Kurtz, Robynne Murphy, Vince Neary, Lesley Pinson, Yasmin Rittau, Tony Vinson, Max Watts and Deena Weinstein. A few passages of text are adapted from writings by Brian Martin. Cartoons are by Simon Kneebone.


The word 'bureaucracy' makes most people think of government -- departments of taxation, welfare, police, you name it. But actually bureaucracies are found everywhere: corporations, churches, the military, trade unions, political parties, schools, hospitals. Most people accept them as a necessary part of life, although they may complain about them. Nobody likes getting caught in bureaucratic regulations, popularly called 'red tape'.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Schweik Action Wollongong