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 journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


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
Pages (from-to)1627-1655
Number of pages29
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number7
Early online date31 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2020


  • Agonistic pluralism
  • Emancipatory accounting
  • Rancière
  • Wage theft


Dive into the research topics of 'Accounting for the “uncounted” workers: a dialectical view of accounting through Rancière'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this