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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

Hendrik Vollmer

This paper explores the role of accounting in ecological reconstitution and draws attention to the public value as a topic of strategic interest for developing it.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores the role of accounting in ecological reconstitution and draws attention to the public value as a topic of strategic interest for developing it.

Design/methodology/approach

The process of ecological reconstitution described by Latour in the “Politics of Nature” is traced towards a distinct set of accounting practices. These accounting practices, designated here as full-tax accounting, offer indications of the changing shape and role of accounting in ecological renewal.

Findings

Full-tax accounting extends the planetary public towards the inclusion of nonhuman planetarians. It establishes matters of care in multimodal accounts and haunts constitutional processes with the spectre of exclusion. Starting with full-tax accounting, public-value accountants emerge as curators of matters of care.

Research limitations/implications

The association of accounting in ecological reconstitution with matters of care highlights the mediating and immersive effects of accounting practice, inviting accounting scholars to explore these effects more systematically.

Practical implications

Accountants need to reconsider their stewardship role in relation to the fundamental uncertainties implied in planetary public-value accounting, support the process of ecological reconstitution by associating themselves with matters of care and develop ethics of exclusion.

Social implications

Broad alliances among planetary accountants are needed to extend the terms of ecological reconstitution, to gain and preserve attunement to matters of care and defend these attunements, in the atmospheric politics of ecological renewal, against regressive tendencies.

Originality/value

In problematising public value, the paper draws attention to a convergence of interests among scholars in accounting, public sector research and the environmental humanities. It presents a case for planetary accounting in ecological reconstitution that calls for participation from across disciplines, professions, arts and environmental activism.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Jan Bebbington and Jeffrey Unerman

This paper introduces a special section devoted to accounting scholarship that addresses the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has three…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces a special section devoted to accounting scholarship that addresses the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has three purposes. First, to explore the puzzle of a relative absence of accounting-related scholarship that addresses the SDGs. Second, the papers within the special section are introduced and located within streams of existing research and practice. Third, the paper then suggests framings, approaches and/or conditions under which the authors might see more accounting scholarship in support of advancing the SDGs.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured review of publication patterns in accounting journals over the last five years is undertaken to explore the nature and extent of SDGs-related accounting research. These patterns and foundational accounting literature are used to shape a series of observations and propositions underlying the line of argument developed in the paper.

Findings

Despite the SDGs' prominence in the policy world, and the widespread embrace of their utility for shaping understandings of organizational responsibilities, accounting scholars have been slow to engage in SDGs-motivated research. This gap creates two issues. First, accounting scholarship is less available to the web of knowledge that is being developed about how to enact the ambitions of the SDGs. Second, accounting scholarship is not developing in a way that incorporates SDGs-related challenges facing organizations. This paper suggests ways in which accounting scholarship can overcome these limitations.

Originality/value

Accounting research on the SDGs is in an early stage of development, despite almost five years having elapsed since their formal adoption. This paper highlights avenues for accounting scholars' engagement with the SDGs’ agenda.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Abstract

Details

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

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