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Publication Date

2000

Abstract

In the early 1990s, there emerged a growing view, popularized through the pages of important research journals such as Accounting, Organizations and Society and Critical Perspectives on Accounting, that traditional historical accounting research was in some senses inferior to the new accounting history. The term new accounting history encompassed a number of methodologies designed to produce what has become known as critical accounting history. Among these methodologies, the work of Foucauldians, particularly that of Professors Hoskin and Macve, focuses on areas of particular interest to ourselves. We address their literature in some of our work for the follow­ing interrelated reasons. First, we found it difficult to under­stand the precise direction of their arguments concerning the position of human accountability in the development of modern managerialism and the relationship between human accountability and modern management accounting. As Funnell [1996] argued, language can create barriers, and we, like others, found this a factor in our inability to interpret in a meaningful manner the messages that Hoskin and Macve wished to convey. Second, we were keen to encourage an inter­change of ideas between historians of different persuasions. Third, we perceived unwarranted criticisms from critical accounting historians of traditional accounting history. Fourth, certain groups of earlier researchers were categorized, in an apparently derogatory fashion, through the use of labels such as traditional, economic determinist, and economic rationalist.

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