The purpose of this paper is to examine the disempowering and/or empowering role of accounting in the context of Indigenous Australians.
A total of 31 interviewees participated in this study, which included 18 self-identified Indigenous Australians and 13 non-Indigenous Australians. A qualitative research methodology, and in particular an oral history method, was chosen because of its ability to support a deeper and richer form of inquiry. Bourdieu’s concepts provide the framework for mobilizing and analyzing the findings of this study.
The damaging role of accounting in the context of Indigenous peoples has largely stemmed from non-Indigenous peoples providing accounting services for Indigenous peoples. The evidence and analysis provided by this study postulates a constructive way forward of accounting’s role in contributing to the empowerment of Indigenous Australians.
Limitations include being a non-Indigenous researcher conducting research in an Indigenous context, which may have prevented some interviewees from feeling comfortable to openly share their experiences and insights.
As this study’s findings have supported the theory that accounting skills can be used in an empowering way when used “by” Indigenous peoples, Indigenous Australians should be actively supported by the accounting bodies to gain the qualifications needed for membership of the accounting profession.
This study contributes to the expanding accounting literature that locates the role of accounting in the context of Indigenous peoples by proposing accounting as a tool of empowerment.
Lombardi, L. (2016), "Disempowerment and empowerment of accounting: an Indigenous accounting context", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 1320-1341. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-08-2015-2167Download as .RIS
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