Household accounting in Australia: a microhistorical study
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to extend the work of Carnegie and Walker and report the results of Part 2 of their study on household accounting in Australia during the period from the 1820s to the 1960s. Design/methodology/approach – The study adopts a microhistorical approach involving a detailed examination of actual accounting practices in the Australian home based on 18 sets of surviving household records identified as exemplars and supplemented by other sources which permit their contextualisation and interpretation. Findings – The findings point to considerable variety in the accounting practices pursued by individuals and families. Household accounting in Australia was undertaken by both women and men of the middle and landed classes whose surviving household accounts were generally found to comprise one element of diverse and comprehensive personal record keeping systems. The findings indicate points of convergence and divergence in relation to the contemporary prescriptive literature and practice. Originality/value – The paper reflects on the implications of the findings for the notion of the household as a unit of consumption as opposed to production, gender differences in accounting practice and financial responsibility, the relationship between changes in the life course and the commencement and cessation of household accounting, and the relationship between domestic accounting practice and social class.
Volume (Year): 20 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
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