Taxation, Accumulation, and the State

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Economic Geography Specialty Group, Political Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Grand Ballroom D, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Organizers: Renee Tapp, Kelly Kay
Chairs: Renee Tapp


The global surge of populist politics has ushered in calls from both the right and left for radical transformation of the existent tax codes (Kumar 2017, Morgan 2017, Travis and Inman 2017). As the single most important tool the state has at its disposal to restrict or enable capitalist accumulation, changes to taxation policies and practices mean nothing less than the reimagining the state itself (Cameron 2008). In the US and the UK, the last major tax shake-ups were the comprehensive reforms that occurred under Reagan and Thatcher respectively. Today, those overhauls have devolved into a tax climate characterized by (i) loopholes and the normalization of tax evasion (Wainwright 2011), (ii) proprietary accounting practices that have institutionalized distinct accumulation and governance strategies (McNeill 2017), and (iii) tax benefits for real estate investment that have opened up all forms and geographies of property and land to financialization (Kay 2017, Gunnoe 2014, Weber 2010, Gotham 2006, Coakley 1994). Although financialized strategies of capital accumulation have been extensively researched by geographers, few studies have articulated a comprehensive understanding of the tax regimes that underlie these processes in the 21st century.

This session aims to bring together scholars working on a broad range of topics related to taxation in order to better understand the centrality that tax policies and the tax code play in capitalist strategies, regulation, and state-building. In addition to examining the evolution of tax regimes, evaluating taxation today means understanding the possibilities and limitations of current and future tax schemes in achieving democracy and justice (Braithwaite 2002). Our goal is to establish a shared understanding of the contours of contemporary taxation and delineate what is at stake in future tax reform.

We invite papers that make empirical engagements or theoretical interventions in that are concerned in a broad range of ways with the intersections of taxation and geography. Themes include but are not limited to:

• The impacts of particular tax legislation or regulation, including those that span the urban/rural divide
• Historical geographies of taxation
• Legal geographies or fiscal geographies and the production of space
• Urban fiscal geographies and finance
• The role of the tax code or tax norms in (re)producing racial, gendered, or class-based forms of discrimination
• Alternative tax structures and/or the political dimensions of tax redistribution
• The role of tax professionals, including by not limited to accountants, appraisers, and consultants in governance and knowledge transfer


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Renee Tapp Clark University 10 10:00 AM
Introduction Kelly Kay University of California, Los Angeles 10 10:10 AM
Presenter Sofrony Riedmann*, Goethe University Frankfurt, Public Accounting Reforms and the Discursive Construction of Fiscal Geographies 20 10:20 AM
Presenter Kyle Willmott*, Simon Fraser University, How to Talk to Taxpayers: An Historical Account of Anti-Tax Organizing 20 10:40 AM
Presenter Matt Huber*, Syracuse University, Taxing Politics: The Carbon Tax and the Climate Politics of the Professional-Managerial Class 20 11:00 AM
Discussant Kevin Ward University of Manchester 20 11:20 AM

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