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The margins of accounting


  • Peter Miller


This paper calls for attention to the margins of accounting. It argues that such a focus helps us to understand the formation and transformation of accounting, its permeability to other bodies of expertise, and how accounting has been made up out of ideas and practices drawn from elsewhere. Accounting, it is argued, is an assemblage of calculative practices and rationales that were invented in other contexts and for other purposes. To draw attention to the margins of accounting is to emphasize the fluid and mobile nature of accounting. Practices that are now regarded as central to accounting will have been at the margins previously, and practices that are at the margins today may be at the core of accounting in the future. The notion of costs for decision-making, discounting techniques for investment appraisal, and cost accounting as a way of governing the factory, provide the illustrative material.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Miller, 1998. "The margins of accounting," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 605-621.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:7:y:1998:i:4:p:605-621
    DOI: 10.1080/096381898336213

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:bla:joares:v:35:y:1997:i:2:p:257-271 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hopwood,Anthony G. & Miller,Peter (ed.), 1994. "Accounting as Social and Institutional Practice," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521469654.
    3. Miller, Peter & O'Leary, Ted, 1993. "Accounting expertise and the politics of the product: Economic citizenship and modes of corporate governance," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 18(2-3), pages 187-206, April.
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