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Publication Date

2007

Abstract

In a recent Accounting History article, Sy and Tinker (S&T) [2005] critique accounting history for its support of archivalism and empiricism in light of irrefutable arguments against these antiquarian epistemes. While tempted to lambaste S&T's article as unfettered social activism rather than evidence-based historical inquiry, we focus instead on the more substantive questions S&T raise. We initially summarize their essential arguments, although some of the statements they make are contradictory in nature. We then discuss fundamental issues and genuine challenges to accounting history posed by the post-Kuhnian critique that S&T and others represent, as well as the nature and purpose of historical enquiry. We reviewed the accounting history journal articles published between 2001 and 2005 and use our findings to evaluate the broad assertions that S&T make about accounting history. We conclude that S&T's critique is unwarranted and unjust, especially when the subject matter of the most recent accounting history articles is considered.

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