On the Elusive Nature of Critical (Accounting) Research

21 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2018

Date Written: February 8, 2018


This essay addresses a deceptively simple question, namely, what is critical (accounting) research? Reflecting on key experiences that led me to be increasingly involved in the critical paradigm of accounting research, I present some of the main sources of influence that retrospectively played a significant role in articulating my (evolving) sense of “what critical research is”. In particular, I elaborate a “conceptual compass”, made up of several tentative referents, in order to help doctoral students and others develop their own understanding of the critical accounting research project’s (evolving) identity. Despite its fuzziness, my sense of the critical accounting research project is that it is primarily focused on developing a better understanding of marginalization processes – as a basis to engage in social intervention and praxis. The ontological foundations of this project reflect a mix of social constructionist and performativity approaches. Methodological openness characterizes the project although a significant degree of intolerance vis-à-vis discourses, ideas and methods that sustain the interests of marginalizing parties is noticeable.

Keywords: critical accounting research, critical paradigm, epistemology, marginalization, research boundaries

JEL Classification: M4, M40, M41, M42

Suggested Citation

Gendron, Yves, On the Elusive Nature of Critical (Accounting) Research (February 8, 2018). Critical Perspectives on Accouting, Vol. 50, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3120817

Yves Gendron (Contact Author)

Université Laval ( email )

Faculte des sciences de l'administration
2325 rue de la Terrasse, Local 2636
Quebec City, Quebec G1V 0A6
418-656-2131 ext. 2431 (Phone)
418-656-7746 (Fax)

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