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Accounting and accountability in Muslim secondary schools in Tanzania: a Bourdieusian perspective

Siasa Issa Mzenzi (Department of Accounting, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 23 December 2022

Issue publication date: 19 January 2023




This paper investigates the relationship between accounting and accountability practices in Muslim secondary schools in Tanzania using Bourdieusian perspective. The purpose of this paper is to address this issue.


In-depth interviews were conducted with school owners, teachers, accountants, an imam and leaders of Muslim organizations. Corroborative evidence was gathered through review of documentary sources. The data were analyzed using a mapping approach.


The findings show that powerful actors in the schools studied proactively selected accounting practices that supported their particular doxa of survival, access or legitimacy. Also, Fiisabilillah is identified as an existential doxa, and this was found to be more influential than individual accountability doxa and responsible for adherence to work among weak agents despite an inappropriate environment. As a result, accounting practices become “rhetoric” and play a minimal role in discharging both “sacred” and “secular” accountability to both human beings and God.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that accounting practices must be understood in the context of the socioeconomic and political settings in which the organization operates.


Most studies of accounting and accountability have focused on developed countries. This is one of the few studies to explore the phenomenon in the context of Muslim schools in a developing country.



Mzenzi, S.I. (2023), "Accounting and accountability in Muslim secondary schools in Tanzania: a Bourdieusian perspective", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 79-93.



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