Based on a fieldwork in the French agricultural sector, this article analyses the political and social consequences of red tape on farmers. It proposes to use the notion of red tape as an analytical category, and to consider its effects on the relationships between citizens and public authorities. In a first step, we describe the different dimensions of individual experiences of administrative constraints. For this purpose we distinguish learning, compliance and symbolic costs associated with paperwork. In a second step, the article explores several hypotheses regarding the administrative aspect of policy feedbacks based on the analysis of farmers’ relationship to bureaucratic and political authorities. Overall, this case study encourages the general study of red tape as a political experience, and underlines the symbolic aspects of such experience.
Gouvernement & action publique. mars 2017, n° 1, p. 33-60.