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This historical case study examines accounting in a sugar refinery from 1900 to 1920 in two arenas of operation. The geography of accounting enabled the workers at Chelsea to have their working experience sequestered by the company. Accounting routinized their work at the refinery, enabling their labor to become monitored, empty of meaning, and, at times, overwhelming. The ideology of accounting provided the company with an instrument of evasion to silence the voice of labor and an instrument of self-deception designed to justify and insulate the authoritarian hierarchy of the company and the power of its Australian general manager, Edward Knox. Accounting became an ideology that sought to legitimate the exploitation of the workforce and the generous return to shareholders.



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