Accounting for the “uncounted” workers

a dialectical view of accounting through Rancière

Da Yang*, John Dumay, Dale Tweedie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: This paper examines how accounting either contributes to or undermines worker resistance to unfair pay, thereby enhancing our current understanding of the emancipatory potential of accounting.

Design/methodology/approach: We apply Jacques Rancière's concept of politics and build on recent calls to introduce Rancière's work to accounting by analysing a case based on workers in an Australian supermarket chain who challenged their employer Coles over wage underpayments.

Findings: We find that in this case, accounting is, in part, a means to politics and a part of the police in Rancière's sense. More specifically, accounting operated within the established order to constrain the workers, but also provided workers with a resource for their political acts that enabled change.

Originality/value: This empirical research adds to Li and McKernan (2016) and Brown and Tregidga (2017) conceptual work on Rancière. It also contributes more broadly to emancipatory accounting research by identifying radical possibilities for workers' accounting to bring about change.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Agonistic pluralism
  • Emancipatory accounting
  • Rancière
  • Wage theft

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