This article critiques “middle‐of‐the‐road” approaches to corporate social reporting and their cautions against radicalising the subject. The historicity of the concept of middle ground is challenged philosophically, politically and socially, by suggesting that its foundations reside in relativism, quietism and pluralism. A counter‐theory is proposed: that the middle ground is a contested terrain that shifts over time with social struggles and conflicts. This proposition is supported by a periodisation analysis of five theoretical themes or trends in the last 30 years of US social responsibility accounting: the Brilovian Critique, the Caring Society Critique, the Caring Market Critique, the Market Re‐regulation Critique, and the Radical Critique. Even if adherence to the middle ground is deemed desirable, it requires a social analysis of the concrete circumstances of each period – today′s middle ground cannot be extrapolated into the future.
Tinker, T., Neimark, M. and Lehman, C. (1991), "Falling down the Hole in the Middle of the Road: Political Quietism in Corporate Social Reporting", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513579110000504
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