Authored by: David Knights , Peter Bloom

The Routledge Companion to Critical Accounting

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138025257
eBook ISBN: 9781315775203
Adobe ISBN:


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Ever since the global financial crisis, even those with a great faith in the propriety of the accountancy profession to act as custodians of moral fiduciary standards in corporate business have begun to show some skepticism regarding its independence. Yet critical accounting research had long before emerged to express dissatisfaction with the lack of independence of conventional accounting as a discipline that was clearly steeped in a status quo conservatism that assumed technical and subsidiary subordination to its corporate clients. As a clear servant of capitalism, accounting became the target for a group of social scientists, some of whom were trained accountants but many not, who sought to politicise the discipline. Drawing on a wide range of critical theories, critical accounting research challenged the way that conventional accounting not only facilitated the smooth functioning of capitalist organisation but also legitimised it politically and ethically. In effect, critical accounting sought to shed new light on the function of accounting technologies and practices for creating and reinforcing contemporary power and control (see for instance Broadbent, 2002; Laughlin, 1999; Mitchell, Sikka and Willmott, 2001) within organisations but also in capitalist society more generally.

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