Tax evasion is an economic justice issue in contemporary Croatia. Corporate tax evasion by massive conglomerates contributes to local financial volatility. Bad financial practices at the top of this chain result in economic precarity at its other end. AnthroTax conceptualizes the various local financial practices of tax evasion with a novel framing of ‘hostage barter’. It employs ethnographic field research methods to study how such practices play out between family winemakers in Istria, Croatia, and a massive agribusiness conglomerate with which they do business. This interdisciplinary project combines classic anthropological concepts with business studies to show how contemporary predatory market exchanges are constructed and how tax evasion is enacted as an apparent ‘natural’ feature of everyday business. The researcher seeks to understand how the emerging economic system works, how hostage barter has become an inevitability of everyday business, how gender influences its practice, and what hostage barter can teach us about predatory economies in wider post-socialist Europe. AnthroTax will advance theory in critical tax studies by introducing a wholly new concept into the field and bring valuable insight to tax evasion processes that will contribute to both academia and government. Placing an anthropologist at one of Europe’s best business schools, particularly for interdisciplinary, qualitative research, AnthroTax represents an unparalleled training-through-research opportunity for the scholar to advance her creative and innovative research potential. AnthroTax’s interdisciplinarity, methodological strengths, and integration into targeted CBS research groups will facilitate diversification of her competences via skills acquisition, advanced training, and mobility both internationally and intersectorally. It will enhance cooperation between networks and facilitate a transfer of knowledge not just institutionally, but outside academia to myriad relevant groups.
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