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Article

Robert Charnock and Keith Hoskin

This paper brings insights from accounting scholarship to the measurement and reporting challenges of metagovernance approaches to sustainable development. Where…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper brings insights from accounting scholarship to the measurement and reporting challenges of metagovernance approaches to sustainable development. Where scholarship on metagovernance—the combination of market, hierarchical and network governance—proposes deductive approaches to such challenges, we contend that a historically informed “abductive” approach offers valuable insight into the realpolitik of intergovernmental frameworks.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a Foucauldian “archaeological–genealogical” method to investigate the inclusion of climate change as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). It analyses more than 100 documents and texts, tracking the statement forms that crystallise prevailing truth claims across the development of climate and SDG metagovernance.

Findings

We show how the truth claims now enshrined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change constrained the conceptualisation and operationalisation of SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. The paper thereby reframes recent measurement and reporting challenges as outcomes of conceptual conflicts between the technicist emphasis of divisions within the United Nations and the truth claims enshrined in intergovernmental agreements.

Originality/value

This paper demonstrates how an archaeological–genealogical approach may start to address the measurement and reporting challenges facing climate and SDG metagovernance. It also highlights that the two degrees target on climate change has a manifest variability of interpretation and shows how this characteristic has become pivotal to operationalising climate metagovernance in a manner that respects the sovereignty of developing nations.

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Article

Susan Bassnett, Ann-Christine Frandsen and Keith Hoskin

The purpose of this paper is to investigate accounting as first visible-sign statement form, and also as the first writing, and analyse its systematic differences…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate accounting as first visible-sign statement form, and also as the first writing, and analyse its systematic differences, syntactic and semantic, from subsequent speech-following (glottographic) writing forms. The authors consider how accounting as non-glottographic (and so “unspeakable”) writing form renders “glottography” a “subsystem of writing” (Hyman, 2006), while initiating a mode of veridiction which always and only names and counts, silently and synoptically. The authors also consider the translation of this statement form into the graphs, charts, equations, etc., which are central to the making of modern scientific truth claims, and to remaking the boundaries of “languaging” and translatability.

Design/methodology/approach

As a historical–theoretical study, this draws on work reconceptualising writing vs speech (e.g. Harris, 1986; 2000), the statement vs the word (e.g. Foucault, 1972/2002) and the parameters of translation (e.g. Littau, 2016) to re-think the conceptual significance of accounting as constitutive of our “literate modes” of thinking, acting and “languaging in general”.

Findings

Specific reflections are offered on how the accounting statement, as mathematically regularised naming of what “ought” to be counted, is then evaluated against what is counted, thus generating a first discourse of the norm and a first accounting-based apparatus for governing the state. The authors analyse how the non-glottographic statement is constructed and read not as linear flow of signs but as simulacrum; and on how the accounting statement poses both the practical issue of how to translate non-linear flow statements, and the conceptual problem of how to think this statement form’s general translatability, given its irreducibility to the linear narrative statement form.

Originality/value

The paper pioneers in approaching accounting as statement form in a way that analyses the differences that flow from its non-glottographic status.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Bradley Bowden and Peta Stevenson-Clarke

Postmodernist ideas – most particularly those of Foucault but also those of Latour, Derrida and Barthes – have had a much longer presence in accounting research than in…

Abstract

Purpose

Postmodernist ideas – most particularly those of Foucault but also those of Latour, Derrida and Barthes – have had a much longer presence in accounting research than in other business disciplines. However, in large part, the debates in accounting history and management history, have moved in parallel but separate universes. The purpose of this study is therefore one of exploring not only critical accounting understandings that are significant for management history but also one of highlighting conceptual flaws that are common to the postmodernist literature in both accounting and management history.

Design/methodology/approach

Foucault has been seminal to the critical traditions that have emerged in both accounting research and management history. In exploring the usage of Foucault’s ideas, this paper argues that an over-reliance on a set of Foucauldian concepts – governmentality, “disciplinary society,” neo-liberalism – that were never conceived with an eye to the problems of accounting and management has resulted in not only in the drawing of some very longbows from Foucault’s formulations but also misrepresentations of the French philosophers’ ideas.

Findings

Many, if not most, of the intellectual positions associated with the “Historic Turn” and ANTi-History – that knowledge is inherently subjective, that management involves exercising power at distance, that history is a social construct that is used to legitimate capitalism and management – were argued in the critical accounting literature long before Clark and Rowlinson’s (2004) oft cited call. Indeed, the “call” for a “New Accounting History” issued by Miller et al. (1991) played a remarkably similar role to that made by Clark and Rowlinson in management and organizational studies more than a decade later.

Originality/value

This is the first study to explore the marked similarities between the critical accounting literature, most particularly that related to the “New Accounting History” and that associated with the “Historic Turn” and ANTi-History in management and organizational studies.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Article

Keith Hoskin

Feminism offers new ways of seeing accounting both as practice andtheory. However, just as accounting has increasingly recognized that itstheoretical base and its everyday…

Abstract

Feminism offers new ways of seeing accounting both as practice and theory. However, just as accounting has increasingly recognized that its theoretical base and its everyday practice are problematic, so has feminism discovered new levels of questionability about feminist projects. Both fields are simultaneously discovering how power‐knowledge relations are deeply embedded within them.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article

Keith Hoskin and Richard Macve

In a 1977 publication Alfred Chandler singled out the Springfield Armoryas the site where single‐unit management was pioneered in the UnitedStates, crediting…

Abstract

In a 1977 publication Alfred Chandler singled out the Springfield Armory as the site where single‐unit management was pioneered in the United States, crediting Superintendent Roswell Lee (1815‐1833) with establishing a first “managerial” approach to work discipline and labour accounting. However, as economic breakthrough came only in 1841/2, it has since been argued that Lee′s role has been overestimated. Re‐examines archival evidence to show that: the changes of 1842 at Springfield were not due to external economic pressures, but to pressure exerted by West Point graduates in the Ordnance Department; Lee, as the dominant arms manufacturer in the 1820s, was not “held back” by economic factors from implementing any changes he desired; and his system of work organization was never even potentially managerial, with his accounting system in particular having been fundamentally misinterpreted. The evidence reinforces the case for viewing the invention of modern business and managerialism as primarily a disciplinary breakthrough.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article

Paolo Quattrone

This paper speculates about the potential of the constructivism of Piaget and Morin to offer a framework which might go beyond dualisms and fragmentation in accounting…

Abstract

This paper speculates about the potential of the constructivism of Piaget and Morin to offer a framework which might go beyond dualisms and fragmentation in accounting research. These, it is argued, are because inter‐disciplinary research is still embedded in a hierarchical organization of human knowledge (“Encyclopaedia”). In pursuing this aim, this paper seeks to reformulate the subject‐matter of accounting in the trans‐disciplinary terms of the “knowledge of knowledge”. Such a theoretical framework will introduce the issues of trans‐disciplinarity, evolution and reflexivity into accounting research. Such issues have already been the concern of other disciplines within and outside the field of managerial studies, providing new insights for understanding organizational problems. However, they have not yet been given enough attention within accounting research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article

Sarah George Lauwo, Olatunde Julius Otusanya and Owolabi Bakre

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the ongoing debate on governance, accountability, transparency and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the ongoing debate on governance, accountability, transparency and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector of a developing country context. It examines the reporting practices of the two largest transnational gold-mining companies in Tanzania in order to draw attention to the role played by local government regulations and advocacy and campaigning by nationally organised non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with respect to promoting corporate social reporting practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a political economy perspective to consider the serious implications of the neo-liberal ideologies of the global capitalist economy, as manifested in Tanzania’s regulatory framework and in NGO activism, for the corporate disclosure, accountability and responsibility of transnational companies (TNCs). A qualitative field case study methodology is adopted to locate the largely unfamiliar issues of CSR in the Tanzanian mining sector within a more familiar literature on social accounting. Data for the case study were obtained from interviews and from analysis of documents such as annual reports, social responsibility reports, newspapers, NGO reports and other publicly available documents.

Findings

Analysis of interviews, press clips and NGO reports draws attention to social and environmental problems in the Tanzanian mining sector, which are arguably linked to the manifestation of the broader crisis of neo-liberal agendas. While these issues have serious impacts on local populations in the mining areas, they often remain invisible in mining companies’ social disclosures. Increasing evidence of social and environmental ills raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the regulatory frameworks, as well as the roles played by NGOs and other pressure groups in Tanzania.

Practical implications

By empowering local NGOs through educational, capacity building, technological and other support, NGOs’ advocacy, campaigning and networking with other civil society groups can play a pivotal role in encouraging corporations, especially TNCs, to adopt more socially and environmentally responsible business practices and to adhere to international and local standards, which in turn may help to improve the lives of many poor people living in developing countries in general, and Tanzania in particular.

Originality/value

This paper contributes insights from gold-mining activities in Tanzania to the existing literature on CSR in the mining sector. It also contributes to political economy theory by locating CSR reporting within the socio-political and regulatory context in which mining operations take place in Tanzania. It is argued that, for CSR reporting to be effective, robust regulations and enforcement and stronger political pressure must be put in place.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 29 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Roderick Andrew Landman

The purpose of this paper is to offer an introduction to the recently recognised phenomenon of “mate crime” as it affects people with learning disabilities. It looks at…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer an introduction to the recently recognised phenomenon of “mate crime” as it affects people with learning disabilities. It looks at how concerns arose, considers what may make people with learning disabilities particularly susceptible, and proposes a provisional definition of “mate crime”.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on the author's own project work, and reviews the extant research literature on “disablist” hate crime to examine the extent to which so-called “mate crime” has been both explicitly and implicitly identified and analysed in the literature.

Findings

The literature review indicates that “mate crime” has not been explicitly identified in any scholarly research to date, either under that or any other name. Crimes that we might label as “mate crimes” have, however, appeared in more general literature concerning the experiences of people with disabilities in general, and as victims of crime.

Social implications

Despite a lack of firm data there is sufficient in the literature, combined with increasing anecdotal evidence and case studies, to suggest that people with learning disabilities are particularly susceptible to “mate crime”, and are being targeted by perpetrators. Increasing independence and reduced service provision are likely to increase the risks. The author argues that mate crime differs significantly from other manifestations of hate crime and abuse, and needs to be conceptualised, analysed and handled differently.

Originality/value

Whilst the issue of “mate crime” is gaining increasing professional and media attention it lacks any academic base and a definition. This paper attempts to establish an agreed definition and conceptualisation of “mate crime”.

Details

The Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1466-8203

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Article

R.S. MORTIMER

It is now forty years since there appeared H. R. Plomer's first volume Dictionary of the booksellers and printers who were at work in England, Scotland and Ireland from

Abstract

It is now forty years since there appeared H. R. Plomer's first volume Dictionary of the booksellers and printers who were at work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1641 to 1667. This has been followed by additional Bibliographical Society publications covering similarly the years up to 1775. From the short sketches given in this series, indicating changes of imprint and type of work undertaken, scholars working with English books issued before the closing years of the eighteenth century have had great assistance in dating the undated and in determining the colour and calibre of any work before it is consulted.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article

Alan Lowe, Yesh Nama, Alice Bryer, Nihel Chabrak, Claire Dambrin, Ingrid Jeacle, Johnny Lind, Philippe Lorino, Keith Robson, Chiara Bottausci, Crawford Spence, Chris Carter and Ekaterina Svetlova

The purpose of this paper is to report the outcome of an interdisciplinary discussion on the concepts of profit and profitability and various ways in which we could…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report the outcome of an interdisciplinary discussion on the concepts of profit and profitability and various ways in which we could potentially problematize these concepts. It is our hope that a much greater attention or reconsideration of the problematization of profit and related accounting numbers will be fostered in part by the exchanges we include here.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts an interdisciplinary discussion approach and brings into conversation ideas and views of several scholars on problematizing profit and profitability in various contexts and explores potential implications of such problematization.

Findings

Profit and profitability measures make invisible the collective endeavour of people who work hard (backstage) to achieve a desired profit level for a division and/or an organization. Profit tends to preclude the social process of debate around contradictions among the ends and means of collective activity. An inherent message that we can discern from our contributors is the typical failure of managers to appreciate the value of critical theory and interpretive research for them. Practitioners and positivist researchers seem to be so influenced by neo-liberal economic ideas that organizations are distrusted and at times reviled in their attachment to profit.

Research limitations/implications

Problematizing opens-up the potential for interesting and significant theoretical insights. A much greater pragmatic and theoretical reconsideration of profit and profitability will be fostered by the exchanges we include here.

Originality/value

In setting out a future research agenda, this paper fosters theoretical and methodological pluralism in the research community focussing on problematizing profit and profitability in various settings. The discussion perspectives offered in this paper provides not only a basis for further research in this critical area of discourse and regulation on the role and status of profit and profitability but also emancipatory potential for practitioners (to be reflective of their practices and their undesired consequences of such practices) whose overarching focus is on these accounting numbers.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 1233 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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