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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Beyond hybridity: culture and ethnicity in the Mauritius Revenue Authority
Author:Hirschmann, DavidISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:Mauritius
Subjects:tax administration
administrative reform
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41240213
Abstract:This article investigates the cultural dynamics and tensions of efforts to reform African tax bureaucracies according to contemporary global standards of independence, transparency, and efficiency. Focusing on the controversial establishment of a semi-independent tax authority in Mauritius, the article perceives tax reform as an uneasy and unstable meeting of different organizational cultures and epistemic communities. Unlike much existing literature - which understands public sector reform within the dichotomy of the modern and the traditional, and a resulting hybridity of bureaucratic culture - the article suggests that the notion of 'tribidity' better describes the reformed Mauritian tax authority. Here, three bureaucratic cultures interact: a global semi-private sector, centred on the performance-based culture of New Public Administration (NPA); a communal culture, emphasizing loyalty, ethnic identity, and union solidarity; and a Weberian culture, where process, hierarchy, and security are fundamental. The unsettled interplay of these overlapping bureaucratic cultures determined the fate of Mauritius's tax reforms, showing how such reform cannot be approached as entirely technical and apolitical. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]