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Weapons of the weak: subalterns' emancipatory accounting in Ceylon Tea

Chandana Alawattage (University of Aberdeen Business School, Aberdeen, UK)
Danture Wickramasinghe (Manchester Business School, Manchester Group of Accounting and Finance, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 27 March 2009




This paper aims to report on subalterns' emancipatory accounting (SEA) embedded in transformation of governance and accountability structures (GAS) in Ceylon Tea.


The paper draws on James Scott's political anthropology to examine how subalterns' resistance and emancipatory accounting triggers structural transformations.


An attempt is made to theorise subaltern resistance as a form of emancipatory accounting. Concerning the commentaries that accounting has been to suppress or hegemonise the subalterns and appreciating the analysis of indigenous resistance implicated in emancipatory potential, this paper examines how a distinct subaltern group in Ceylon Tea deployed their own weapons towards the changes in GAS.


The accounting literature neglects how subalterns reconstruct governance and accountability structures: this paper introduces a social accounting perspective on resistance, control and structural transformations. Also, it introduces to accounting researchers James Scott's political anthropology as an alternative framework.



Alawattage, C. and Wickramasinghe, D. (2009), "Weapons of the weak: subalterns' emancipatory accounting in Ceylon Tea", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 379-404.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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