Beyond hybridity: Culture and ethnicity in the Mauritius Revenue Authority

Beyond hybridity: Culture and ethnicity in the Mauritius Revenue Authority

Author: 
Hirschmann, David
Place: 
New York
Publisher: 
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Date published: 
2011
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
African Affairs
Source: 
African Affairs, Vol. 110 Issue 440 July, 2011, PP.417-437
ISSN: 
0001-9909
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.

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CITATION: Hirschmann, David. Beyond hybridity: Culture and ethnicity in the Mauritius Revenue Authority . New York : Oxford University Press (OUP) , 2011. African Affairs, Vol. 110 Issue 440 July, 2011, PP.417-437 - Available at: http://library.au.int/beyond-hybridity-culture-and-ethnicity-mauritius-revenue-authority-4