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Mobilising accounting in the radical media during the First World War and its aftermath: The case of Forward in the context of Red Clydeside
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Professor Sonja Gallhofer
Professor Jim Haslam
Gallhofer S, Haslam J
Critical Perspectives on Accounting
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It remains the case that surprisingly little research has been done into the mobilising of accounting in media such as newspapers. Moreover, one can still argue that there is, again surprisingly, a paucity of research into accounting's emancipatory dimensions, actual as well as potential. And this is in spite of the scope for such work and the apparent significance of such topics for the critical social analysis of accounting. We seek here to add to and build upon the work that has been done in these areas [see, Gallhofer S, Haslam J. The aura of accounting in the context of a crisis: Germany and the First World War. Acc Organ Soc 1991; 16(5/6):487–520; Gallhofer S, Haslam J. Accounting/art and the emancipatory project: some reflections. Acc Audit Accountability J 1996;9(5):23–44; Gallhofer S, Haslam J. Accounting and emancipation: some critical interventions. London: Routledge; 2003; see also, for instance, Lehman C, Tinker T. The ‘real’ cultural significance of accounts. Acc Organ Soc 1987;12(5);503–22; Lehman C. Accounting's changing role in social conflict. New York: Markus Wiener; 1992; Beard V. Popular culture and professional identity: accountants in the movies. Acc Organ Soc 1994;19(3):304–18; Bougen P. Joking apart: the serious side to the accountant stereotype. Acc Organ Soc 1994;19(3):319–35; Broadbent J, Ciancanelli P, Gallhofer S, Haslam J. Enabling accounting: the way forward? Acc Audit Accountability J 1997;10(3):265–75; Lehman G, Tinker T. Environmental accounting: accounting as instrumental or emancipatory discourse. In: Proceedings of the interdisciplinary perspectives on accounting conference, July; 1997; Shearer T. Ethics and accountability: from the for-itself to the for-the-other. Acc Organ Soc 2002;27(6):541–73]. We elaborate a critical historical analysis of accounting's mobilisation in the radical media in the crisis context of the First World War and its aftermath. We focus upon the way in which accounting is mobilised in Forward, an important radical weekly newspaper of the key context of politically charged ‘Red Clydeside’ during this crisis period. Our general concern here is to further bring out and articulate the political character of accounting and its potential in the context of seeking to transform accounting and society. In our focus, we explore a number of ways in which accounting is mobilised to support a socialistic rhetoric that is disturbing for hegemonic forces. Our study contributes to an understanding of radical accounting functioning in the early twentieth century, adding to previous insights. We thus aim here to further encourage engaged action towards emancipatory development in and through accounting.
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