Justification and accounting: applying sociology of worth to accounting research

Marcia Annisette (Accounting Area, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada)
Alan J. Richardson (Accounting Area, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Publication date: 15 February 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and illustrate the insights of the sociology of worth as advanced by sociologist Luc Boltanski and his collaborator economist/statistician Laurent Thévenot in their works, including their path‐breaking book De la justification published in 1991.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores the basic tenets of this “new sociology” and draws on it to render a reinterpretation of Ansari and Euske's study of cost accounting in a military depot.

Findings

The sociology of worth complements extant sociological approaches to accounting by providing a language and a conceptual tool‐box for understanding the multiple rationalities in which accounting is implicated. In addition, given its pragmatic micro level approach to accounting, it has the potential to act as a bridge between institutional theory and practice theory.

Originality/value

This paper is the first known to render an extensive discussion of Boltanski and Thévenot's work in the accounting literature and to apply insights from this work to accounting research.

Keywords

Citation

Annisette, M. and Richardson, A. (2011), "Justification and accounting: applying sociology of worth to accounting research", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 229-249. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513571111100690

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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