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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'The eye of authority': 'native' taxation, colonial governance and resistance in inter-war Tanganyika
Author:Burton, AndrewISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:fiscal policy
colonial administration
tax evasion
Abstract:This article examines taxation in inter-war Tanganyika; an institution of central importance to the colonial State yet one which is relatively neglected in the historiography of colonialism in East Africa. Existing analysis of colonial taxation has emphasised its economic role, notably its effects in forcing African men to engage in waged labour. The present account seeks to give greater weight to taxation's important political and administrative roles, whilst not ignoring its economic objectives and effects. Collection of tax not only formed an incentive for African participation in the colonial economy and an important source of colonial revenue, it was also at the heart of the political system erected by the British in Tanganyika. Moreover, taxation was central to imperial ambitions to engineer disciplined African subjects. Its failure on this score resulted not only from the limitations of the colonial State, but from a fundamental inability to establish the legitimacy of its fiscal regime. The article ends with a description of the widespread tax evasion occurring throughout Tanganyika. The extent of evasion reflected Africans' rejection of colonial arguments for taxation that emphasized its supposedly civilizing role in promoting socioeconomic and political development in local societies. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]