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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 14 April 2022

Erin Jade Twyford, Farzana Aman Tanima and Sendirella George

In this paper, the authors explore racialisation through human-centric counter-accounts (counter-stories) to bring together critical race theory (CRT) and counter-accounting.

Abstract

Purpose

In this paper, the authors explore racialisation through human-centric counter-accounts (counter-stories) to bring together critical race theory (CRT) and counter-accounting.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors utilise CRT to demonstrate the emancipatory role of counter-stories in (re)telling racialized narratives, specifically the narrative of asylum seekers who arrive by sea and are subjected to the inhumane and oppressive nature of the Australian government's policy of offshore immigration detention.

Findings

Counter-stories, as tools of accountability, can make visible oppressive forces and the hidden practices of racialized social practices and norms.

Research limitations/implications

This paper emphasises that we are not in a post-racial world, and racialisation remains a fundamental challenge. We must continue to refute race as an ontological truth and strive to provide a platform for counter-stories that can spark or drive social change. This requires allies, including academics, to give that platform, support their plight, and offer avenues for change.

Originality/value

The authors introduce CRT as a theoretical tool for examining racialisation, opening space for a more critical confluence of accounting and race with potentially wide-reaching implications for our discipline. The paper also contributes to the limited accounting literature concerning asylum seekers, particularly in the use of counter-stories that offer a way of refuting, or challenging, the majoritarian/dominant narratives around asylum-seeking.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Sonja Gallhofer, Jim Haslam, Elizabeth Monk and Clare Roberts

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate upon the notion of counter accounting, to assess the potentiality of online reports for counter accounting and hence for counter

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate upon the notion of counter accounting, to assess the potentiality of online reports for counter accounting and hence for counter accounting's emancipatory potential as online reporting, to assess the extent to which this potential is being realised and to suggest ways forward from a critical perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

There are several components to a critical interpretive analysis: critical evaluative analysis, informed to some extent by prior literature in diverse fields; web survey; questionnaire survey; case study.

Findings

Web‐based counter accounting may be understood as having emancipatory potential, some of which is being realised in practice. Not all the positive potential is, however, being realised as one might hope: things that might properly be done are not always being done. And there are threats to progress in the future.

Originality/value

Clarification of a notion of counter accounting incorporating the activity of groups such as pressure groups and NGOs; rare study into practices and opinions in this context through a critical evaluative lens.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 19 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 February 2015

Oana Mihaela Apostol

The purpose of this paper is to look more closely, in the context of a given case study, at the role of civil society’s counter-accounts in facilitating democratic change…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to look more closely, in the context of a given case study, at the role of civil society’s counter-accounts in facilitating democratic change in society, as an essential goal of an emancipatory and radical social accounting project.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of a Canadian company’s plans to open a gold mine in western Romania is here analysed. Civil society’s opposition to the mining project gave rise to an unprecedented social movement contesting the project’s utility for Romanian society. The role played by counter-accounts produced by civil society groups is investigated.

Findings

Counter-accounts produced by civil society played multiple roles in the case study analysed. First, counter-accounts indicated the failure of corporate reports to present the gold mining project in a balanced manner. Second, counter-accounts were successful in problematizing the corporate approach to addressing the social, cultural and environmental impacts of the project, while also nurturing societal debate on these issues. Third, counter-accounts exposed the ideological inclinations of state institutions to favour economic interests over the social, cultural and environmental ones. As a result of these contributions, even if the counter-accounts were subjective, this study claims that they form a good basis for the development of emancipatory accounting.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations associated with an interpretative approach and case study research apply.

Originality/value

The paper illustrates the potential of civil society’s counter accounts to enable societal debates, as means towards democratic, transformative change.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 January 2021

Laurence Ferry and Richard Slack

Hybrid organising faces a fundamental challenge in managing multiple and conflicting logics. Prior studies have evidenced the performative role of accounting within such a…

Abstract

Purpose

Hybrid organising faces a fundamental challenge in managing multiple and conflicting logics. Prior studies have evidenced the performative role of accounting within such a context largely in support of neoliberal hegemony and economic logic. Mindful of such conflict and the support towards economic logic, drawing on universal accountings, this study provides insights from counter accounting and its potential to serve pluralism and the emancipation of marginalised constituencies.

Design/methodology/approach

The research examined The Great Exhibition of the North (GEOTN), England's largest event in 2018, which utilised themes of art, design and innovation to support a regeneration and economic growth agenda. This was led by NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) a hybrid organisation combining logics for economic and social legacies, whose accounts are contrasted to counter accounts from a social movement; The Other Great Exhibition of the North, “OtherGEN”. The study involved 30 in-depth semi-structured interviews, detailed observation and documentation review providing account and counter account of the event.

Findings

The findings reveal that GEOTN promoted an agenda offering a duality of economic and social logics through the arts and culture delivering a lasting economic and social legacy. This employed traditional accountings and associated performance targets and measurement through a formal evaluation framework. Emergent tensions were apparent evidencing a more dominant economic logic. The purported use of culture was portrayed as artwashing by a counter account narrative enmeshed in a backdrop of austerity. This wider accounting highlights the need for reflection on logic plurality and enables challenge to the performative role of traditional accounting in hybrid organising.

Originality/value

Universal accountings, such as counter accounting, can be advanced to unpack “faked” logics duality in hybrid organising. This reveals the emancipatory potential of accountings and the need for dialogic reflection. Hybrid organising requires careful consideration of accounting as a universal praxis to support social and economic pluralism and democratic ideals.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 August 2017

Mercy Denedo, Ian Thomson and Akira Yonekura

The purpose of this paper is to explore how and why international advocacy NGOs (iaNGOs) use counter accounting as part of their campaigns against oil companies operating…

3588

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how and why international advocacy NGOs (iaNGOs) use counter accounting as part of their campaigns against oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to reform problematic regulatory systems and make visible corporate practices that exploit governance and accountability gaps in relation to human rights violations and environmental damage.

Design/methodology/approach

This arena study draws on different sources of evidence, including interviews with nine iaNGOs representatives involved in campaigns in the Niger Delta. The authors mapped out the history of the conflict in order to locate and make sense of the interviewees’ views on counter accounting, campaigning strategies, accountability and governance gaps as well as their motivations and aspirations for change.

Findings

The evidence revealed an inability of vulnerable communities to engage in relevant governance systems, due to unequal power relationships, corporate actions and ineffective governance practices. NGOs used counter accounts as part of their campaigns to change corporate practices, reform governance systems and address power imbalances. Counter accounts made visible problematic actions to those with power over those causing harm, gave voice to indigenous communities and pressured the Nigerian Government to reform their governance processes.

Practical implications

Understanding the intentions, desired outcomes and limitations of NGO’s use of counter accounting could influence human rights accountability and governance reforms in political institutions, public sector organisations, NGOs and corporations, especially in developing countries.

Social implications

This paper seeks to contribute to accounting research that seeks to protect the wealth and natural endowments of indigenous communities to enhance their life experience.

Originality/value

By interviewing the preparers of counter accounts the authors uncover their reasons as to why they find accounting useful in their campaigns.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Matias Laine and Eija Vinnari

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the dynamics and transformative potential associated with counter accounts. It explores how counter-accountants’ attempts to…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the dynamics and transformative potential associated with counter accounts. It explores how counter-accountants’ attempts to rearticulate animal production result in their own identity becoming constructed during the conflict setting and how this identity subsequently relates to the transformative potential of the counter accounts.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper investigates counter accounts released during an animal rights activists’ campaign against industrial meat and dairy production in Finland. The counter accounts, consisting of secretly filmed videos from pig farms, contrasted the official depiction of animal farming and received wide publicity over several years. The main empirical data set consists of 21 interviews with a variety of parties that have a stake in the conflict. This data set is supplemented with a broad set of published documentary material.

Findings

The authors find that the counter accounts managed, to some extent, to rearticulate the meaning of animal production, potentially resulting in the emergence of small-scale societal effects. When trying to undermine the counter-accountants’ radical political demand, the dominant social groups not only dismissed the counter accounts but also attempted to constitute the counter-accountants’ identity as irresponsible, militant and negligent, drawing a firm political boundary between “them” and “us.” Likewise, the counter-accountants seemed reluctant to communicate with representatives of the dominant regime, resulting in an antagonistic as opposed to an agonistic relationship between the two political groups. The paper also discusses ethical questions concerning the production of counter accounts, the importance of having a clearly articulated political vision, and the challenges related to evaluating whether the counter accounts have been successful.

Originality/value

The paper provides insights into the design, use and reception of counter accounts in a real-life social setting, thus providing a direct response to a recent call by Thomson et al. (2015). The paper illustrates the usefulness of the conceptual dynamic conflict arena framework presented by Thomson et al. (2015), and makes use of discourse theory (Laclau and Mouffe, 1985; Laclau, 2005, 2001, 1996) to highlight how in exploring the transformative potential of counter accounts it is necessary to also consider how the identity of the counter-accountants becomes constructed and understood. Furthermore, the paper also seeks to advance the connections between accounting research and significant global problems by investigating an ethically and environmentally disputed industry, and by engaging with the interrelationships between accounts and accountability in the context of socio-ecological change.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 July 2019

Darlene Himick and Kate Ruff

Profit is often moralized by activists, but scant research has carefully examined what profit is for these activists or how they use it to create a more just world. The…

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Abstract

Purpose

Profit is often moralized by activists, but scant research has carefully examined what profit is for these activists or how they use it to create a more just world. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how social movements use counter accounts of profit as tools of resistance.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple case study design, informed by framing theory, is used to trace the framing of profit from activists’ counter accounts to actions they precipitated. Specifically, the study examines counter accounts of profit from the UK abolition movement, Médecines Sans Frontières access to essential medicines campaign and Brigitte Bardot Foundation’s opposition to the Canadian seal hunt, and how their framings of profit influenced change.

Findings

Activists reframe profit to create visibilities and bridges to the suffering of distant others. Reframing the calculation and boundary of profit is a strategy to elicit moral outrage, hope and ultimately a more just world. Through these reframings, activists in three different social movements were able to change the possibilities of who and what can be profitable, and how.

Social implications

The inherently incomplete nature of accounting frames give rise to accounting’s vulnerability to non-accountants to assert their views of a moral profit. Accounting therefore is both a means of control at a distance but also “emancipation at a distance.”

Originality/value

Scholars have asserted that accounting can be used for resistance, few studies have examined how. By examining how activists assert what profit is – and should be – the paper documents and theorizes profit as contested and highlights accounting’s emancipatory potential.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 January 2023

Randolph Nsor-Ambala

The purpose of this paper is to test if activism by civil society organisations (CSOs hereafter) in successfully mobilising resistance to the Government of Ghana…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test if activism by civil society organisations (CSOs hereafter) in successfully mobilising resistance to the Government of Ghana “collateralization” of gold resources and other mineral royalties in 2020 (dubbed the “Agyapa deal”) espouse tenets of Foucault’s (2009) “governmentality” and “counter conduct” dispositions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on Dean’s (1999) discussion of government analytics to highlight how CSO activism can simultaneously challenge government practice and share in it. This paper uses an evidence-based and interpretive qualitative content analysis approach. This paper relied on secondary data sources from 1 January 2020 to 21 August 2021. Data collection involved an extensive review of secondary materials concerning the Agyapa deal, relying on the author's local knowledge to identify the likely sources of information.

Findings

This paper exposes how the counteractions of CSOs, underpinned by the desire for so-called “good governance”, invariably extend governmentality and other neo-liberal ideals. In this case, CSOs' actions espoused the ideals of marketisation, extended governable spaces, engrained subjectivation and treated citizens as incapable of formulating and advancing their desires without overt help. Secondly, it provides evidence that massive deployment of accountability and other calculable practices, however wilful, complement efforts at shaping public opinion.

Practical implications

CSO counter-conduct is merely symbolic rather than substantive. Substantive counter-conduct requires the citizenry to actively lead the problematisation process, holding CSOs accountable for acting on their behalf. The current trajectory where CSO accountability is primarily to their international financiers, predominantly neo-liberal advocates, raises questions about “in whose interest they seek another form of governance?” Practically, the splinter of interests that may emanate from citizenry directly led counter-conduct can affect garnering the critical mass needed to force a policy change. That said, however, there is a case for citizenry “making themselves” rather than “being made” within the governmentality process.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first application of the Foucauldian and Dean framework to a data set from Ghana.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 October 2020

Da Yang, John Dumay and Dale Tweedie

In 2015, one university student in KC – a small town in regional Australia – unknowingly launched a resistance movement and national debate on modern wage theft. We apply…

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Abstract

Purpose

In 2015, one university student in KC – a small town in regional Australia – unknowingly launched a resistance movement and national debate on modern wage theft. We apply labour process theory to analyse accounting's role in this case.

Design/methodology/approach

We study multiple instances of wage theft in one Australian town. This case site reveals how wage theft can emerge in a developed economy with well-established legal and institutional constraints. We use Thompson's “core” labour process theory to analyse accounting's role via two interrelated dialectics: (1) structure and agency and, (2) control and resistance.

Findings

Accounting was “weaponised” by both sides of the controversy: as a tool of employer control and as a vehicle for student resistance. Digital technologies enabled employee resistance to form unconsciously and organically. Proponents mobilised informally, with information and accounting the ammunition.

Social implications

Wage theft affects industrialised as well as developing economies, especially “precarious” workers. We show how accounting can conceal exploitation, but also how – with the right support – accounting can help vulnerable workers enforce their rights and entitlements.

Originality/value

The paper uncovers novel dynamics of exploitation and resistance at work under contemporary economic and technological conditions. Labour process theory can provide a more dialectical perspective on accounting's role in these dynamics, including the emancipatory potential of informal and opportunistic counter-accounts.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 26 August 2021

Nglaa Ahmad, Shamima Haque and Muhammad Azizul Islam

This article aims to examine how non-governmental organisations (NGOs)' narratives portray the vulnerability of workers in global clothing supply chains during the COVID-19 crisis.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to examine how non-governmental organisations (NGOs)' narratives portray the vulnerability of workers in global clothing supply chains during the COVID-19 crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

The research analyses the rhetoric in global clothing retailers' and NGOs' counter-rhetoric during the first seven months of 2020.

Findings

During this period, retailers employed rhetorical strategies to legitimise irresponsible actions (corporate hegemony prevailed), while NGOs embraced forms of counter-rhetoric trying to delegitimise the retailers' logic, stressing the role of neoliberalism in worsening the situation.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to the literature by providing new insight into the consequences of COVID-19 for retailers' neoliberal practices and the livelihood of workers in global supply chains. Findings of this study extend authors’ knowledge about retailers' COVID-19 measures: These have contributed to the plights of workers working for their supply factories in the global South.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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