The aim of this paper is to study the rhetoric of goodwill impairment, more specifically rhetoric, as it is constructed in the form of accounts (i.e. statements that…
The aim of this paper is to study the rhetoric of goodwill impairment, more specifically rhetoric, as it is constructed in the form of accounts (i.e. statements that explain unanticipated or untoward behavior). The authors argue that goodwill impairment is not only a technical matter but also a rhetorical practice by means of which external scrutiny is responded to.
The data corpus consists of explanations provided by corporations regarding impairment of goodwill. Data were collected from annual reports from companies quoted on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm, Sweden. The impairment explanations were analyzed according to a taxonomy of account types. The explanations were subjected to close reading to discern the potential rhetorical functions of the different accounts.
Seven account types are identified and discussed, namely, excuse, justification, refocusing, concession, mystification, silence and wordification.
There is a need for further research that explores the process of authorship (i.e. writing, editing, negotiating and revising) through which the texts of financial communication are produced.
The findings have implications for the future formulations of standards regarding qualitative explanations in financial reporting in general and explanations of goodwill impairment in particular.
The paper contributes to the knowledge about the use of natural language and rhetoric in financial communication.
In 1967, Robert N. Bellah famously argued that there existed an “American Civil Religion,” which was distinct from churchly religion and captured the “transcendental” dimension of the American project. In this chapter, I revisit the civil religion concept and reconstruct it along more Weberian lines. Specifically, I argue that the civil religion tradition is one of three competing traditions for thinking about the proper relationship between religion and politics in America; the other two are religious nationalism and liberal secularism. Whereas liberal secularism envisions a complete separation of the religious and political value spheres, and religious nationalism longs for their (re)unification, civil religion aims for a mediating position of partial separation and productive tension. Following Bellah, I argue that the two central strands of the civil religion tradition have been covenant theology and civic republicanism. The body of the chapter sketches out the development of the tradition across a series of national foundings and refoundings, focusing on the writings of leading civil theologians from John Winthrop and John Adams through Abraham Lincoln and John Dewey to Martin King and Barack Obama. The conclusion advances a normative argument for American civil religion – and against liberal secularism and religious nationalism. I contend that liberalism is highly inclusive but insufficiently solidaristic; that religious nationalism is highly solidaristic but insufficiently inclusive; and that only civil religion strikes a proper balance between individual autonomy and the common good.
Before starting research in the field of ethics, a few common assumptions need to be cleared up. The first is so common that it needs very little space at all: Ethics is a…
Before starting research in the field of ethics, a few common assumptions need to be cleared up. The first is so common that it needs very little space at all: Ethics is a scientific discipline. This accurately describes its location and the problems it covers in a modern, functionally differentiated society. As a branch of philosophy and a normative science, its frame of reference is initially located in a world of possible competing reasons. The basic problem is that of trying to explain good reasons – and the horizon is the sayability of ethical sentences which, even when they reflect an ethical practice, open up a scientific horizon. Ethics is therefore a science – and like every science it can only solve scientific problems (see Luhmann, 2002, pp. 79–93). Practical problems are also the scientific problems of ethics – and that is not a deficiency, but rather a consequence of the basic structures of modern society. A modern society cut loose from political, economic, legal, scientific, artistic, educational and medical problems, on the one hand, allows these disconnected spheres to relate radically to each other, while on the other hand making them logically incompatible. A modern society could not exist any other way (see Luhmann, 1998, pp. 1–21; Nassehi, 2005a). This should first be understood before venturing into research on ethics.