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Steven Sampson

Steven Sampson

Professor emeritus

Steven Sampson

Citizen Duty or Stasi Society? Informing on Unethical Behavior in Firms, Organizations and Communities and the Neoliberalization of Whistleblowing


  • Steven Sampson

Summary, in English

This paper describes two systems of whistleblowing: 1) the U.S. Government whistleblower program for unethical behaviour in corporations, where the whistleblower can receive up to 30% of the reward based on the size of the violation (the highest payment to date is 30 million dollars!) and 2) the citizen informing programs in Denmark and Sweden where citizens can upload 'evidence' (fotos, videos) to the local tax and welfare authorities, showing neighbors who are employing 'black work', claiming false disability, or single mothers with a man living with them. In the U.S., private whistleblower firms (for a fee) and NGOs help whistleblowers file their claim with the SEC and Dept of Justice and to avoid retaliation from employers. In Scandinavia there are no rewards, but the whistleblower can be anonymous, with the possibility that the government becomes a vehicle for conducting nasty neighbor conflicts and accusations. The public and media response to such programs is discussed, and whether such whistleblowing represents citizen ethical duties or whether a new informer society, a 'Stasi' society, is being created, the Danish word being 'Stasification'. As we see new kinds of whistleblower systems being formed, we are also seeing the neoliberalization of whistleblowing.


  • Socialantropologi










  • Social Anthropology


  • Social anthropology
  • Whistblowing
  • Corruption
  • anti-corruption
  • Angiveri
  • Welfare fraud
  • Tax cheating
  • Trust
  • Swindle

Conference name

American Anthropological Association 116th Annual Meeting, 2017

Conference date

2017-11-29 - 2017-12-03

Conference place

Washington DC, United States