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Taxation in West Africa : Transforming the colonial subject into the `Governable Person'

Bush, B. and Maltby, J. (2004) Taxation in West Africa : Transforming the colonial subject into the `Governable Person'. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 15 (1). pp. 5-34. ISSN 1045-2354

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Little attention has hitherto been paid to the role of accounting and taxation in colonial/imperial contexts. The objective of this paper is to explore taxation in British West Africa from the late nineteenth to the mid-20th centuries. Taxation represents the use of accounting to regulate behaviour, and as such offers a new perspective on the claims made for accounting as a successful mode of making individuals governable. We examine the taxation system initiated by Lord Lugard and followed elsewhere in British West Africa and consider what its imposition has to tell us about the relationship between colonialists and Africans, and about its potential for moulding the behaviour of colonial subjects. The vigorous resistance of West Africans to colonial taxation casts doubts on some of the claims made for accounting controls as a means of “forming subjectivity” [Acc. Organ. Society 23 (7) (1998) 685].

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > The York Management School
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2009 11:15
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2009 11:15
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1045-2354(03)00008-X
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier
Identification Number: 10.1016/S1045-2354(03)00008-X
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5893

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