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Exploring the role of accounting in the People’s Commune of China between 1958 and 1966

Lina Xu (RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Eagle Zhang (Discipline of Accounting, Business School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Corinne Cortese (School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 4 December 2018

Issue publication date: 15 January 2019




The purpose of this paper is to consider the role of accounting in the construction and maintenance of political hegemony during Mao’s People’s Commune movement in China between 1958 and 1966. Drawing on concepts of ideological power and intellectual diffusion in political and civil society from Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, it analyses the process by which accounting intellectuals established a set of socialist accounting practices to meet the political challenges of the People’s Commune.


Gramsci’s theory is adopted to examine how the accounting systems of People’s Commune acted as a mechanism that reflected Mao’s political ideas.


This paper demonstrates that the accounting system that emerged during these socio-political movements served the ideological purpose of reinforcing Mao’s political ideology and his hegemonic leadership. Accounting functioned within the spheres of both political and civil society to facilitate a national collective will, and to construct behaviours that satisfied the political requirements of the People’s Commune.


This paper will contribute to the accounting history in China from 1958 to 1966.



Xu, L., Zhang, E. and Cortese, C. (2019), "Exploring the role of accounting in the People’s Commune of China between 1958 and 1966", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 194-223.



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