Accounting, the Social and the Political: Classics, Contemporary and Beyond

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Part I: Classics. The Roles of Accounting in Organizations and Society. Burchell et al. Hedberg, S. Cooper, M. Hopper, A. Radical Developments in Accounting Thought. Wai Fong Chua. Roberts, R. The Archaeology of Accounting Systems. Many articles, however, are quite substantially trimmed.

Social and Political Thought in Chinese Philosophy

For example, Chapter 32, p. Similarly, Chapter 32, but also other chapters that are based on qualitative re- search, presents too little information about the research setting for the reader to be able to fully appreciate the remaining parts of the original article. And, the culling also has some more mundane, practical implications that affect the readability of some chapters. Because of this, I expect that the curious reader will want to check out the original articles to obtain a more thorough and complete understanding of the abridged articles.

With this book, the editors target upper-division undergraduate and graduate students in pro- fessional accounting programs and doctoral students. The editors also believe that the book will be of interest to thoughtful, sophisticated professional accountants. In my opin- ion, the audience most suited for this book consists of doctoral students who consider pursuing research in this area.

For them, the book provides a broad sampling of influen- tial articles presented in an accessible format. If the book turns out to whet their appetite, they can then dig deeper by studying the original, unabridged articles in depth, as well as other articles in this area and related literatures. For undergraduates and master stu- dents in professional accounting programs, the book probably is too specialized as re- quired reading, other than perhaps for elective courses with this topical focus.

Finally, I doubt that this book is presented in a sufficiently accessible format for it to be of great interest to busy practitioners. In summary, I believe that this book offers the best value for early-stage doctoral students who are exploring avenues for research. After all, the articles are what they are, but it would have been especially valuable for the readers, particularly the novices among them, to see more perspective offered on the selected articles by the editors, both of whom are emi- nent scholars in this area. The articles chapters in this book are organized in three sections.

First, the Clas- sics are seminal articles that at the time introduced highly original ideas that have been a source for future research and theorizing. The Contemporaries are articles of more recent vintage that have built on the foundations of the Classics and have extended that body of knowledge. The Beyond section contains articles that are exemplary of promising direc- tions for further and future research on the roles and impacts of accounting on organiza- tions and society.

The editors effectively slotted the 35 articles along these lines. Alt- hough these lines are somewhat arbitrary, any other categorization I tried to think of e. In addition to discussing the prospects, I would have liked to see more of an attempt by the editors to offer their perspectives on what has been accom- plished. I do realize, however, that given the eclectic body of work represented in the cur- rent book, such an editorial task would be quite challenging.

But it would also be quite useful for the targeted novice researchers trying to get their hands around this area of re- search. The conjectures in the Postscript essentially boil down to two points.

Accounting, Organisations and Institutions

First, the ed- itors conclude that research in social and political accounting thought has gained in im- portance, and will continue to do so, finding a home in world-class journals. Second, this research will continue to be eclectic, heterogeneous, and innovative such as by using linguistics-based investigations in addressing important issues related to the roles and impacts of accounting as a cultural discourse; issues related to the roles and impacts of accounting in the face of increasing globalization; and issues related to the ethical side of accounting.

In other words, the editors are optimistic that heterogeneity in accounting re- search will prevail.

It is therefore no accident that 20 of the 35 articles nearly 60 percent in this book were previously published in AOS. However, given these observations, I do hope, like the editors, that there will be sufficient incentives for faculty to continue to study the diverse roles of accounting in organizations and society using eclectic and het- erogeneous theories and methods.

As a result, what is considered deviant changes over time and can vary significantly across cultures. It is important to note that labelling theory does not address the initial motives or reasons for the rule-breaking behaviour, which might be unknowable, but the importance of its social consequences. It does not attempt to answer the questions of why people break the rules or why they are deviant so much as why particular acts or particular individuals are labelled deviant while others are not.

How do certain acts get labelled deviant and what are the consequences?

Political economy

Sociologist Edwin Lemert expanded on the concepts of labelling theory, identifying two types of deviance that affect identity formation. Speeding is a deviant act, but receiving a speeding ticket generally does not make others view you as a bad person, nor does it alter your own self-concept. Individuals who engage in primary deviance still maintain a feeling of belonging in society and are likely to continue to conform to norms in the future. Sometimes, in more extreme cases, primary deviance can morph into secondary deviance.

For example, consider a high school student who often cuts class and gets into fights. Secondary deviance can be so strong that it bestows a master status on an individual. A master status is a label that describes the chief characteristic of an individual. Some people see themselves primarily as doctors, artists, or grandfathers. Others see themselves as beggars, convicts, or addicts. In the second case, being labelled a juvenile delinquent sets up a set of responses to the teenager by police and authorities that lead to criminal charges, more severe penalties, and a process of socialization into the criminal identity.

In detention in particular, individuals learn how to assume the identity of serious offenders as they interact with hardened, long-term inmates within the prison culture Wheeler, Judges were also found to be more likely to impose harsher penalties on teenagers from divorced families. Unsurprisingly, Cicourel noted that subsequent research conducted on the social characteristics of teenagers who were charged and processed as juvenile delinquents found that children from divorced families were more likely to be charged and processed.

This set up a vicious circle in which the research confirmed the prejudices of police and judges who continued to label, arrest, and convict the children of divorced families disproportionately. The labelling process acted as a self-fulfilling prophecy in which police found what they expected to see. The sociological study of crime, deviance, and social control is especially important with respect to public policy debates. The legislation imposes a mandatory six-month sentence for cultivating six marijuana plants, for example.

This followed the Tackling Violent Crime Act passed in , which among other provisions, imposed a mandatory three-year sentence for first-time gun-related offences. This government policy represented a shift toward a punitive approach to crime control and away from preventive strategies such as drug rehabilitation, prison diversion, and social reintegration programs. Despite the evidence that rates of serious and violent crime have been falling in Canada, and while even some of the most conservative politicians in the United States have begun to reject the punitive approach as an expensive failure, the government pushed the legislation through Parliament.

One reason is that violent crime is a form of deviance that lends itself to spectacular media coverage that distorts its actual threat to the public. However, the image of crime presented in the headlines does not accurately represent the types of crime that actually occur. Whereas the news typically reports on the worst sorts of violent crime, violent crime made up only 21 percent of all police-reported crime in down 17 percent from , and homicides made up only one-tenth of 1 percent of all violent crimes in down 16 percent from In , the homicide rate fell to its lowest level since Perreault, This distortion creates the conditions for moral panics around crime.

As we noted earlier, a moral panic occurs when a relatively minor or atypical situation of deviance arises that is amplified and distorted by the media, police, or members of the public. It thereby comes to be defined as a general threat to the civility or moral fibre of society Cohen, For example, the implementation of mandatory minimum sentences for the cultivation of marijuana is framed in the Safe Streets and Communities legislation as a response to the infiltration of organized crime into Canada.

For years newspapers have uncritically published police messaging on grow-ops and the marijuana trade that characterizes the activities as widespread, gang-related, and linked to the cross-border trade in guns and more serious drugs like heroin and cocaine. Television news coverage often shows police in white, disposable hazardous-waste outfits removing marijuana plants from suburban houses, and presents exaggerated estimates of the street value of the drugs.

However a Justice Department study in revealed that out of a random sample of grow-ops, only 5 percent had connections to organized crime. While 76 percent of Canadians believe that marijuana should be legally available Stockwell et al. Although deviance is a violation of social norms, it is not always punishable, and it is not necessarily bad. Crime, on the other hand, is a behaviour that violates official law and is punishable through formal sanctions. Walking to class backwards is a deviant behaviour. For example, in Viola Desmond refused to sit in the balcony designated for blacks at a cinema in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, where she was unable to see the screen.

She was dragged from the cinema by two men who injured her knee, and she was then arrested, obliged to stay overnight in the male cell block, tried without counsel, and fined. The courts ignored the issue of racial segregation in Canada. Instead her crime was determined to be tax evasion because she had not paid the 1 cent difference in tax between a balcony ticket and a main floor ticket.

She took her case to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia where she lost. In hindsight, and long after her death, she was posthumously pardoned, because the application of the law was clearly in violation of norms of social equality. As you learned previously, all societies have informal and formal ways of maintaining social control. Within these systems of norms, societies have legal codes that maintain formal social control through laws, which are rules adopted and enforced by a political authority.

Those who violate these rules incur negative formal sanctions. Normally, punishments are relative to the degree of the crime and the importance to society of the value underlying the law. As we will see, however, there are other factors that influence criminal sentencing.

History of economic thought - Wikipedia

Not all crimes are given equal weight. Society generally socializes its members to view certain crimes as more severe than others. For example, most people would consider murdering someone to be far worse than stealing a wallet and would expect a murderer to be punished more severely than a thief. In modern North American society, crimes are classified as one of two types based on their severity.