UCL Anthropology


Miranda Sheild Johansson

Miranda Sheild Johansson

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Email: m.johansson@ucl.ac.uk
Website: https://tax-anthro.net

PhD Anthropology, LSE (2014)
MSc Res Anthropology, LSE (2007)
MA (hons) Social Anthropology, The University of Edinburgh (2005)

Miranda is a social anthropologist working on tax and labour. Her regional specialism is contemporary Bolivia where she has undertaken long-term fieldwork in a Quechua-speaking community in the rural highlands, as well as in the peri-urban zones of the city of Cochabamba. Miranda is interested in fiscal relations, different conceptions of work, the value of productivity, the morality of exchange, and economic subjectivities.

Her current project, ‘Becoming a Tax Payer: Fiscal Expansion and Economic Subjectivities in Bolivia’, explores fiscal cultures in peri-urban, highland Bolivia, with a particular focus on indigenous perspectives on tax, decolonising tax, statecraft in Latin America, the relationship between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ money flows, fiscal exchange logics, the value of productivity, and the Social Contract.

Her research into taxation has developed in response to the current fiscal expansion in Bolivia. Here, hitherto informally employed subjects are being initiated into an individualised fiscal regime; they are being made into “taxpayers.” This is has consequences for a broad range of issues including money, morality, exchange, subject formation and citizenship. Miranda is the co-editor of a forthcoming volume: ‘Anthropology of Tax: Ethnographies of Fiscal Cultures’, which is currently being prepared by several members of a recently established tax network.

Miranda’s other strand of work has focused on agricultural labour. In exploring the cultural context of a rural Andean notion of work she shows how emic perceptions of personhood and animate landscapes are necessary to understanding the full meaning of agricultural labour. In turn the value of work is key in the analysis of local politics, religious conversion, exchange and local migration.

Miranda has been Teaching Fellow at UCL and a Teaching Assistant at LSE.

Research interests

  • Taxation
  • Work and Productivity
  • Agricultural Labour
  • Economic and Political Subjectivities
  • The Social Contract
  • Citizenship
  • Landscape and Personhood
  • The Andean Region


  • The Anthropology of Latin America
  • Introduction to Social Anthropology
  • Critical Issues
  • Theory, Ethnography and Professional Practice
  • Being Human


Sheild Johansson, Miranda (2020) ‘Taxes for Independence: Rejecting a Fiscal Model of Reciprocity in Peri-urban BoliviaSocial Analysis, 64: 2, 18–37

Kauppinen, Anna-Riikka & Sheild Johansson, M. (2020). The fiscal lives of pandemics. Allegra Laboratory

Sheild Johansson, Miranda. (2020), ‘Resource rumours in the Bolivian highlands: The potential of gold in community lands.’ Part of special issue on Resource Entanglements in Latin America. Bulletin of Latin American Research. 39: 334-347.

Sheild Johansson, Miranda (2019) ‘The mountain ate his heart:’ Agricultural labour and animate land in a Protestant Andean community. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 24:2

Sheild Johansson, Miranda (2019) Tax season woes have complex root. SAPIENS (Wenner-Gren Foundation)

Sheild Johansson, Miranda (2018) ‘Taxing the indigenous: A history of barriers to fiscal inclusion in the Bolivian highlands’, History and Anthropology 29:1, 83-100.

Selected Presentations 

(Invited) Paying ‘tax’ to non-state actors to build communal worlds. Workshop: Becoming Taxpayers: Establishing the Anthropology of Tax.’ Stockholm University and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Stockholm. 27-30/10/2019

(Invited) Taxes for independence: Rejecting a fiscal model of reciprocity in peri-urban Bolivia. Departmental Seminar, Dept. of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Bristol. 09/10/2019

(Invited) Taxes as a route to independence from the State: Rejecting a fiscal model of reciprocity in peri-urban Bolivia. Departmental Seminar, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, UK. 07/06/2019

Making homes, making citizens: Viviendas sociales in peri-urban Bolivia
Panel: The house in notions of living well in Latin America (Panel Convener). Society for Latin American Studies, University of Leicester, UK. 04/2019

The last Cacique: The move from hereditary to rotative leadership in a Bolivian ayllu
Panel: Locating Identity: Politics of Indigeneity in Bolivia. Society for Latin American Studies, University of Leicester, UK. 04/2019

(Invited) The eager taxpayer and the evasive collector: Fiscal relations in peri-urban Bolivia. Friday Seminar, Dept. of Anthropology, LSE. 02/2019

Fiscal visions and bureaucratic barriers in peri-urban Bolivia. Panel: Collective Futures: An Anthropology of Preparation. AAA, San Jose 2018, USA. 11/2018

Contradictions of fiscal expansion in peri-urban Bolivia. Panel: The Sociality of Taxes. ASA 2018, Oxford. 09/2018

(Invited) The meanings of work in an Andean ayllu. Conference: The Social Life of Work, Centre for Research for in the Arts, Social Science and Humanities, Cambridge. 10/2018

(Invited) ‘Working for the municipality is like ploughing the land’ – Understanding non-agricultural productivity in an Andean ayllu. Productive Articulations workshop, Dept. of Anthropology, LSE. 06/2017.