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Governmentality and identity construction through 50 years of personal income tax returns: The case of an immigrant couple in Canada

Merridee L. Bujaki, Stéphanie Gaudet and Rosa M. Iuliano

CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, 2017, vol. 46, issue C, 54-74

Abstract: Drawing principally on Giddens’ concept of identity construction, Foucault's work on governmentality and discipline, and using a sociological life course perspective, we explore how income tax returns filed over five decades by a refugee couple in Canada construct and discipline their identities. By exploring employment, family, and housing trajectories as revealed in their income tax returns, we trace the construction and reshaping of the couple's identities over time since their arrival in Canada. We find the identity constructed by tax returns filed by the husband is primarily that of ‘entrepreneur’, while the wife's identity is primarily as a ‘dependent’. We explore how various identities are manifest in their income tax returns and how the everyday experience of submitting an annual income tax return shapes and disciplines each taxpayer's identity over time.

Keywords: Identity; Governmentality; Income tax; Immigration; Life course; Entrepreneurship (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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