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Shaping Taxpayers: Values in Action at the Swedish Tax Agency

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Shaping Taxpayers

Values in Action at the Swedish Tax Agency

Lotta Björklund Larsen

218 pages, 12 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-410-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (February 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-411-5 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“How tax compliance is shaped merits much more attention than it has received in anthropology and the social sciences. The book offers a wonderful rendering of the true strangeness and contingency of familiar routines – something the best social theory does.” · Liz McFall, Open University

Shaping Taxpayers will be a significant, indeed, ground-breaking study that will propel this vein of interdisciplinary scholarship, concerned with social studies of finance, cultural economy, fiscal sociology and bureaucratic practice, into the mainstream.” · Bill Maurer, University of California, Irvine


How do you make taxpayers comply? This ethnography offers a vivid, yet nuanced account of knowledge making at one of Sweden’s most esteemed bureaucracies – the Swedish Tax Agency. In its aim to collect taxes and minimize tax faults, the Agency mediates the application of tax law to ensure compliance and maintain legitimacy in society. This volume follows one risk assessment project’s passage through the Agency, from its inception, through the research phase, in discussions with management to its final abandonment. With its fiscal anthropological approach, Shaping Taxpayers reveals how diverse knowledge claims – legal, economic, cultural – compete to shape taxpayer behaviour.

Lotta Björklund Larsen currently holds the position of Associate Professor at the Department of Thematic Studies – Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, Sweden.

Subject: General Anthropology Political Economy
Area: Northern Europe



Chapter 1. From Control to Compassion: A History of the Swedish Tax Agency
Chapter 2. Talking with People: What Can We Learn from an Attitudinal Survey?
Chapter 3. X Per Cent: The Birth of a Number at the Random Audit Control
Chapter 4. To Publish or Not? Communicating and Legitimizing Concerns Regarding the Project’s Result
Chapter 5. Values in Action

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