Social Anthropology.

Engaging with anthropology, its holistic perspective and its methods was for me a revolutionary insight. Anthropology provides a way to take people seriously. The holistic approach and ethnographic methods anthropology uses provide an infinite number of alternative possibilities to address challenges/problems/questions for any organization.

Anthropology mainly provides qualitative data. Yet my perspective does not exclude using quantitative data; but as with any data you have to question its background. When conducting or relying on survey data you always have to ask how are they obtained. What questions were posed in the survey? How were the responses collected? Will the data at hand respond directly to the questions you pose? A contemporary challenge is how to most productively make use of and combine quantitative and qualitative data.


Several large research projects have provided me with a deep knowledge about the mechanisms of taxation and its societal impact. Three years was spent at the Swedish Tax Administration studying how they create knowledge to make us citizens comply with paying and reporting the right tax. Ethnographic interviews with a large group of Swedes on how they justified purchases of informal work – svart arbete – surprisingly provided input for the Swedish Tax Administration. In a large EU-financed project, I led comparative studies of collaboration between multinational corporations and tax administrations applying ethnographic methods. In a recent study so-called tax lotteries were in focus. Drawing on the fantastic trove of anthropological theory provides a fresh approach to established tax research and new insights beyond factual descriptions. I have lectured nationally and internationally for tax administrations, policymakers and tax researchers writ large. In numerous workshops for tax specialists, we have twisted and turned perspectives for understanding contemporary challenges for tax compliance. Yet, the outset remains – to take people seriously.


The financial software industry is a fascinating market. I accumulated a depth of understanding of the impact and potential of digitalization when for 13 years I worked with installations, instructions, support and programming of software handling financial derivative instruments. Looking back from today’s digitalized society, the software seems to belong to the era of dinosaurs. Yet the basic questions digitalization raises for society remain the same. In a recent network initiation project, we problematized the impact that algorithms made on various societal phenomena such as decision making, ways of working, values, attitudes, etc. The important follow-up question remains: how to make digitalization legitimate for individuals and for society respecting basic democratic values.


The interest of the workings of the economy has been with me from the very start. My first degree in economics was an interesting yet bewildering experience. From an anthropological perspective research from economics usually articulates more questions than it explains. We are in dire need of more dialogue between disciplines in order to address contemporary economic challenges