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Investigating interdisciplinary translations: The influence of Pierre Bourdieu on accounting literature

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  • Bertrand Malsch
  • Yves Gendron
  • Frédérique Grazzini
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    Abstract

    Purpose – Accounting researchers have frequently borrowed theories and methods from other disciplines. A noteworthy importation movement in recent decades involves the work of French intellectuals and philosophers, not least Pierre Bourdieu. This paper aims to contribute to the sociology of the accounting discipline by examining how Bourdieu's works have been translated into the domain of accounting research. Design/methodology/approach – The investigation is articulated through three modes of analysis. First, it evaluates Bourdieu's recognition in the domain of accounting research, through an examination of the extent to which Bourdieu's writings are cited in accounting articles. Focusing on accounting articles which rely significantly on Bourdieu's thought, the paper then examines which of his publications have been mobilized, and how researchers have articulated his ideas in studying accounting phenomena. The third line of inquiry addresses the extent to which accounting researchers have used Bourdieu's core concepts holistically, that is to say in mobilizing simultaneously the concepts of field, capital and habitus. Findings – Several of the studies which rely significantly on Bourdieu have employed his work holistically, while others have not. Moreover, about half of the studies reviewed in the paper are characterized by a gap between Bourdieu's view of academic research as a support to political and social causes debated in the public arena versus a more dispassionate approach to research. While it is difficult to be conclusive about the implications of these translational gaps, they nonetheless make one aware of some central epistemological issues: Should accounting researchers be more concerned about bringing “the achievements of science and scholarship into public debate”? What are the pros and cons of drawing upon ideas from politically-engaged intellectuals in order to conduct research characterized by political dispassion? Does it make sense to use certain concepts excerpted from a comprehensive system of thought in a piecemeal way? Originality/value – The paper mobilizes and develops the notion of translation in investigating an interdisciplinary movement.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 194-228

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:aaajpp:v:24:y:2011:i:2:p:194-228

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    Related research

    Keywords: Accounting research; Accounting theory; Influence; Research methods; Social factors;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Anthony Hopwood, 2008. "Changing Pressures on the Research Process: On Trying to Research in an Age when Curiosity is not Enough," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 87-96.
    2. Neu, Dean, 2006. "Accounting for public space," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(4-5), pages 391-414.
    3. Haynes, Kathryn, 2008. "(Re)figuring accounting and maternal bodies: The gendered embodiment of accounting professionals," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(4-5), pages 328-348.
    4. Reiter, Sara Ann & Williams, Paul F., 2002. "The structure and progressivity of accounting research: the crisis in the academy revisited," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 575-607, August.
    5. Norman Macintosh, 2009. "Accounting and the Truth of Earnings Reports: Philosophical Considerations," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 141-175.
    6. Cooper, David J. & Robson, Keith, 2006. "Accounting, professions and regulation: Locating the sites of professionalization," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(4-5), pages 415-444.
    7. Hopwood, Anthony G., 1983. "On trying to study accounting in the contexts in which it operates," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 8(2-3), pages 287-305, May.
    8. Arnold, Patricia J., 2009. "Global financial crisis: The challenge to accounting research," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(6-7), pages 803-809, August.
    9. Yves Gendron & C. Richard Baker, 2005. "On interdisciplinary movements: The development of a network of support around Foucaultian perspectives in accounting research," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 525-569.
    10. Williams, Paul F. & Jenkins, J. Gregory & Ingraham, Laura, 2006. "The winnowing away of behavioral accounting research in the US: The process for anointing academic elites," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 783-818, November.
    11. Ezzamel, Mahmoud & Xiao, Jason Zezhong & Pan, Aixiang, 2007. "Political ideology and accounting regulation in China," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(7-8), pages 669-700.
    12. Abu Shiraz Rahaman & Jeff Everett & Dean Neu, 2007. "Accounting and the move to privatize water services in Africa," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(5), pages 637-670, August.
    13. Damon Golsorkhi & Isabelle Huault, 2006. "Pierre Bourdieu. Critique et réflexivité comme attitude analytique en sciences de gestion," Post-Print halshs-00150711, HAL.
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    Cited by:
    1. Morales, Jérémy & Farjaudon, Anne-Laure, 2012. "In search of consensus : The role of accounting in the definition and reproduction of dominant interests," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/9538, Paris Dauphine University.
    2. Gracia, Louise & Oats, Lynne, 2012. "Boundary work and tax regulation: A Bourdieusian view," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 304-321.
    3. Brivot, Marion & Gendron, Yves, 2011. "Beyond panopticism: On the ramifications of surveillance in a contemporary professional setting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 135-155, April.
    4. Farjaudon, Anne-Laure & Morales, Jérémy, 2013. "In search of consensus: The role of accounting in the definition and reproduction of dominant interests," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10730, Paris Dauphine University.

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