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Operationalising closure in a colonial context: The Association of Accountants in East Africa, 1949–1963

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  • Sian, S.

Abstract

In the wake of imperial expansion, the migration of British accounting professionals to both settler and non-settler colonies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries bequeathed an enduring legacy for the professionalisation process in these countries. This study sets out to trace the rise of professional accountancy in one such colony, Kenya, which hosted a racially diversified and hierarchical colonial society where non-whites were marginalized and the minority white population ruled. Drawing mainly from archival sources, the study charts the formation and evolution of a colonial professional body, the Association of Accountants in East Africa (AAEA), which was comprised mainly of British expatriate accountants. In particular, it shows how decisions made by the professionalizing group in order to secure closure within this market were swayed by political concerns originating from within the “imperial arena” and how in a final twist, dramatic changes in the local political environment forced the Association to abandon their strategy altogether in favour of openness.

Suggested Citation

  • Sian, S., 2011. "Operationalising closure in a colonial context: The Association of Accountants in East Africa, 1949–1963," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 363-381.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:36:y:2011:i:6:p:363-381
    DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2011.06.005
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