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Contesting the Social Contract

Tax Reform and Economic Governance in Istria, Croatia

Robin Smith

Abstract

This article investigates how Istrian business owners challenged the Croatian government's motivation for and enforcement of fiskalizacija, an automated VAT reform adopted in 2013 as Croatia prepared for EU membership. Fiskalizacija threatened local economic agency and sowed distrust in government. The analysis of this tax reform demonstrates how Istrians envisage their economic agency, rights, and responsibilities. I argue that it is not just the construction of fiscal systems, but how such a system is projected onto society that is fundamental to the development of state-society relations. The way in which a tax reform is put into effect, including the enforcement practices of state agents, shapes how citizens perceive the social contract to be constituted by fiscal regimes.

Free access

Tom Hall and Robin Smith

This article considers welfare and the city and the ways in which pedestrian practices combine in the management and production of urban need and vulnerability as manifest in the experience and supervision of urban homelessness. The article combines writings on urban maintenance and repair with recent anthropological work on wayfaring (in which cities seldom figure). Fieldwork undertaken with rough sleepers, welfare workers and city managers in the city of Cardiff , Wales, provides the empirical basis. The main body of the article is organized around three walks through the centre of Cardiff with individuals variously implicated in care, repair and welfare in the city. In closing we assert the importance of a politics of street welfare in city space.

Open access

Introduction

Tax Beyond the Social Contract

Nicolette Makovicky and Robin Smith

Abstract

This special issue decenters tax as an analytic device for understanding the relationship between state and citizen while examining the limits of social contract thinking. Focusing on how citizens interpret and react to state efforts to promote fiscal citizenship, it sheds light on contemporary fiscal structures and public debates about the moralities, practices, and imaginaries of tax systems. The contributors use tax to explore the nature of citizenship, personal freedom, and moral and economic value. They also highlight how taxation may be influenced by spaces of fiscal sovereignty that exist outside or alongside the state in the form of alternative religious and economic communities.

Restricted access

Marc Saperstein, Frank Dabba Smith, Robin Ostow, and Ruth Langer

Menachem Kellner, Maimonides’ Confrontation with Mysticism, Oxford: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2006. 343 pp., ISBN 978-1-904113-29-4. £35.00.

Michael Walzer (ed.), Law, Politics, and Morality in Judaism, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2006. 224 pp., ISBN 00-691-12508-2. £35.95 (cloth), £11.95 (paper).

Alena Heitlinger, In the Shadows of the Holocaust and Communism: Czech and Slovak Jews Since 1945, New Brunswick, USA, and London, UK: Transaction Publishers, 2006. 238 pp., ISBN 0-7658-0331-3. $39.95 US.

Forms of Prayer, I: Daily, Sabbath and Occasional Prayers, Eighth Edition, London: The Movement for Reform Judaism, 2008. 750pp., ISBN 978-0-947884-13-0. Standard hardback edition £24.95.