Fiscal Disobedience An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa

ISBN-10: 0691118701
ISBN-13: 9780691118703
Edition: 2005
Authors: Janet L. Roitman
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Description: Fiscal Disobediencerepresents a novel approach to the question of citizenship amid the changing global economy and the fiscal crisis of the nation-state. Focusing on economic practices in the Chad Basin of Africa, Janet Roitman combines thorough  More...

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Book details

List price: $39.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 10/17/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.792

Fiscal Disobediencerepresents a novel approach to the question of citizenship amid the changing global economy and the fiscal crisis of the nation-state. Focusing on economic practices in the Chad Basin of Africa, Janet Roitman combines thorough ethnographic fieldwork with sophisticated analysis of key ideas of political economy to examine the contentious nature of fiscal relationships between the state and its citizens. She argues that citizenship is being redefined through a renegotiation of the rights and obligations inherent in such economic relationships. The book centers on a civil disobedience movement that arose in Cameroon beginning in 1990 ostensibly to counter state fiscal authority--a movement dubbedOpeacute;ration Villes Mortesby the opposition andincivisme fiscalby the government (which for its part was eager to suggest that participants were less than legitimate citizens, failing in their civic duties). Contrary to standard approaches, Roitman examines this conflict as a "productive moment" that, rather than involving the outright rejection of regulatory authority, questioned the intelligibility of its exercise. Although both militarized commercial networks (associated with such activities trading in contraband goods including drugs, ivory, and guns) and highly organized gang-based banditry do challenge state authority, they do not necessarily undermine state power. Contrary to depictions of the African state as "weak" or "failed," this book demonstrates how the state in Africa manages to reconstitute its authority through networks that have emerged in the interstices of the state system. It also shows how those networks partake of the same epistemological grounding as does the state. Indeed, both state and nonstate practices of governing refer to a common "ethic of illegality," which explains how illegal activities are understood as licit or reasonable conduct.

Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction: An Anthropology of Regulation and Fiscal Relations
Incivisme Fiscal
Tax-Price as a Technique of Government
Unsanctioned Wealth, or the Productivity of Debt
Fixing the Moving Targets of Regulation
The Unstable Terms of Regulatory Practice
The Pluralization of Regulatory Authority

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