Elements for sociology of profit

Gaétan Breton (Département des sciences, École des sciences de la gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal, Quebec, Canada)
Marie‐Andrée Caron (Université du Québec à Montréal, Quebec, Canada)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Publication date: 8 February 2008



The purpose of this paper is to revisit the foundations of profit and then consider the central role of the profit in the society inspired by the accounting practice, through its influence in the social construction of the accountant's competency, and of the use accounting profession itself.


Inspired largely by the sociology of the professions, this paper also borrows from classical economic theory to understand the contradictory role and functioning of the conventional notion of profit in the society.


The paper presents the accountant as the master and great academic of this convention, and the profit as constituting for him a key resource in establishing an undisputed consensus around his competency based on a social valorization. This sacralization originates from the emptying of the economic concept while referring constantly to it. Therefore, the meaning is noisy and then, can be manipulated.


The profit is the main product sell by the accounting profession and the accounting notion most widely discussed in the society. Therefore, to understand its social functioning is essential to understand the social role of accounting and the social statute of accountants.



Breton, G. and Caron, M. (2008), "Elements for sociology of profit", Society and Business Review, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 72-90. https://doi.org/10.1108/17465680810852739

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.