Landscapes of Indignation: Denunciations of Tax Evaders and Welfare Cheaters in Scandinavia

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Abstract: Citizen-state relations can be more than just a political relationship. It can also be emotional. Where there is an articulated balance between citizen tax obligations and state welfare services, there arises a combination of redistribution and reciprocity between citizen and state. This fiscal compact has an emotional component. This emotional component becomes indignation when people perceive an imbalance in the reciprocity between citizen obligations and state services. This paper describes how indignation operates in cases of perceived tax cheating and welfare fraud in Denmark and Sweden, where the state encourages citizens to denounce those who are cheating on taxes or taking welfare payments fraudulently. In this 'landscape of indignation', which includes policymakers, citizens and media representations, citizens can deploy the state denunciation option as a weapon to restore community obligations and maintain the fiscal compact between citizens and state. How people react to tax evasion and welfare fraud, how their indignation is mobilized and channeled, can thus provide a window to understanding the emotional aspects of the fiscal compact between state and citizen.
Original languageEnglish
Short descriptionDraft article
Number of pages20
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021 Aug 23

Bibliographical note

Article from a panel on the anthropology of taxation, currenlty being submited to a journal.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Anthropology


  • Social Anthropology
  • taxation
  • welfare benefits fraud
  • indignation
  • moral anthropology
  • Welfare State
  • Scandinavian Studies
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • tax evasion


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