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Rhetoric, repetition, reporting and the “dot.com” era: words, pictures, intangibles

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  • Jane Davison

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to add to theoretical and empirical work on the rhetoric of narratives and pictures in annual reporting by using the lens of repetition to examine the Design/methodology/approach - The study constructs a conceptual framework of repetition in signifiants (from rhetoric) and signifiés (from philosophy, notably Barthes, Deleuze, Eliade and Jankélévitch). Signifiants are established by reference to rhetorical figures based in repetition: anadiplosis, anaphora, alliteration/rhyme and lists. Signifiés are indicated as conscious rhetorical emphasis, and unconscious reflections of sameness and difference; networks and links; and, of particular interest during the “dot.com” years, exuberance and compulsion; differentiation, ritual and reassurance. The framework is used to analyse BT plc's Findings - The application of the framework is enlightening: repetition is shown to be prevalent in BT plc's Research limitations/implications - The paper provides a model which may be applied to the wealth of discretionary narratives and pictures in contemporary annual reporting. It would also benefit from the assessment of readership impact. Practical implications - The analysis is of interest to accounting researchers, practitioners, trainees, auditors and any user of accounting and accountability statements. It illuminates the way in which discretionary words and pictures highlight and supplement accounting information. Originality/value - The paper augments theoretical and empirical work on the significance of narratives and pictures in accounting.

Suggested Citation

  • Jane Davison, 2008. "Rhetoric, repetition, reporting and the “dot.com” era: words, pictures, intangibles," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 21(6), pages 791-826, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:aaajpp:v:21:y:2008:i:6:p:791-826
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    9. Laura Spira, 1999. "Ceremonies of Governance: Perspectives on the Role of the Audit Committee," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 3(3), pages 231-260, September.
    10. Walter Masocha & Pauline Weetman, 2007. "Rhetoric in standard setting: the case of the going-concern audit," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 74-100, March.
    11. Preston, Alistair M. & Young, Joni J., 2000. "Constructing the global corporation and corporate constructions of the global: a picture essay," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(4-5), pages 427-449, May.
    12. Walters, Melissa, 2004. "Alternative accounting thought and the prison-house of metaphor," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 157-187, February.
    13. Jose L. Arquero & Trevor Hassall & John Joyce & Jose A. Donoso, 2007. "Accounting Students and Communication Apprehension: A Study of Spanish and UK Students," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 299-322.
    14. Benschop, Yvonne & Meihuizen, Hanne E., 2002. "Keeping up gendered appearances: representations of gender in financial annual reports," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 611-636, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:crpeac:v:22:y:2011:i:2:p:118-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Claire France Picard & Sylvain Durocher & Yves Gendron, 2013. "From Meticulous Professionals To Superheroes Of The Business World: A Historical Portrait Of A Cultural Change In The Field Of Accountancy," Post-Print hal-00993019, HAL.
    3. repec:aud:audfin:v:15:y:2017:i:148:p:605 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Davison, Jane, 2010. "[In]visible [in]tangibles: Visual portraits of the business élite," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 165-183, February.
    5. Mouhcine Tallaki & Enrico Bracci & Monia Castellini, 2015. "Accounting learning preferences: the role of visualisation," Working Papers 2015094, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics.
    6. Davison, Jane, 2014. "Visual rhetoric and the case of intellectual capital," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 20-37.

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