Plotting the contours of an emerging field: an essay and research note concerning British academic social and environmental accountants

R. Gray

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The broad field we might think of as ‘social accounting’ has attracted a fair amount of criticism over the years, increasingly it seems, from within its own ranks. It is no surprise that social accounting is a field given to self-evaluation but as (for example) Correa and Laine (2013. “Struggling Against Like-Minded Conformity in Order to Enliven SEAR: A Call for Passion.” Social and Environmental Accountability Journal 33 (3): 134–144) demonstrate, there is a growing trend of articulated disquiet amongst members of the social accounting community. Prompted by these concerns, this paper was initially envisaged as an attempt to provide some empirical content to these concerns and, in particular, to try and describe the members of the community in rather more detail than simply an overview of selected published work. Obtaining any reliable global data proved beyond me, but there is exceptionally good data concerning the UK and Ireland accounting community: The British Accounting Review Research Register. Consequently, at the risk of parochialism, this short piece plots the contours of the British social and environmental accounting community over 28 years from 1984 to 2011 (the last date for which data are currently available). The data are frequently arresting and suggest that some of the critiques of social accounting may have a point of some substance. The paper concludes with a broad reflection on whether the experience from the UK and Ireland may be repeated elsewhere and whether these data have any lessons for our community more widely.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)106-116
    Number of pages11
    JournalSocial and Environmental Accountability Journal
    Volume34
    Issue number2
    Early online date21 Jul 2014
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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