Mireille Abelin

Visiting Scholar, 2014-2015

Mireille Abelin is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on taxation, off-shore banking, and changing conceptions of value and citizenship after the 2001 Argentine financial crisis. Her ethnographic work with federal and provincial tax authorities, and members of the Buenos Aires upper classes, explores the ethical, political, and affective dimensions of fiscal obligation. She is particularly interested in how citizens adhering to liberal conceptions of personhood negotiate the obligation to pay taxes, debts to the state that are neither subject to cancellation nor to the reciprocal laws of market exchange. She is currently pursuing two research projects: a comparative study examining the rise of anti-tax sentiment in the aftermath of financial crisis in the U.S. and Argentina; and an exploration of the discourse and practice of fiscal sovereignty (soberania fiscal) as it is playing out in Argentina’s defiance of U.S. court orders in the decade-long sovereign debt litigation brought by “holdout” creditors – also referred to as “vulture funds” – against the Argentine state. She completed her PhD in anthropology at Columbia University in 2012, and was a Baldy Fellow in Interdisciplinary Legal Studies at SUNY Buffalo’s Law school from September 2012-2013. Her article, “‘Entrenched in the BMW’: Argentine Elites and the Terror of Fiscal Obligation” appeared in the Spring 2012 edition of Public Culture.

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