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This essay, following up on the recent Sy and Tinker [2005] and Tyson and Oldroyd [2007] debate, argues that accounting history research needs to present critiques of the present state of accounting's authoritative concepts and principles, theory, and present-day practices. It proposes that accounting history research could benefit by adopting a genealogical, effective history approach. It outlines four fundamental strengths of traditional history investigate only the real with facts; the past is a permanent dimension of the present; history has much to say about the present; and the past, present, and future constitute a seamless continuum. It identifies Nietzsche's major concerns with traditional history, contrasts it with his genealogical approach, and reviews Foucault's [1977] follow up to Nietzsche's approach. Two examples of genealogical historiography are presented Williams' [1994] exposition of the major shift in British discourse regarding slavery and Macintosh et al.'s [2000] genealogy of the accounting sign of income from feudal times to the present. The paper critiques some of the early Foucauldian-based accounting research, as well as some more recent studies from this perspective. It concludes that adopting a genealogical historical approach would enable accounting history research to become effective history by presenting critiques of accounting's present state.



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