This essay, following up on the recent Sy and Tinker  and Tyson and Oldroyd  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  follow up to Nietzsche's approach. Two examples of genealogical historiography are presented Williams'  exposition of the major shift in British discourse regarding slavery and Macintosh et al.'s  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.
Macintosh, Norman B.
"Effective genealogical history: Possibilities for critical accounting history research,"
Accounting Historians Journal: Vol. 36
, Article 2.
Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/aah_journal/vol36/iss1/2