Ethnicity as Inclusion and Exclusion: Drawing on Concept and Practice in Accounting Research
Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Special Issue on ‘Operationalising Ethnicity in Accounting Research’, 2016, Vol. 29 (8), pp.1262 – 1269.
Posted: 18 Apr 2018
Date Written: December 14, 2016
Purpose – Accounting research has struggled with how ethnicity is to be understood in relation to concepts such as nation and nationality and how ethnicity may impact on accounting and auditing practices, behaviours, education and professional values. These themes are explored and developed in the papers presented in this special issue. In particular, the purpose of this paper is to explore the contrasting theoretical and methodological approaches reflected by the papers in the issue.
Design/methodology/approach – This is a reflective and analytical paper which explores how notions of ethnicity are conceived and operationalised in accounting research. The authors identified two distinctive analytic ordering processes evident within this AAAJ Special issue: Mary Douglas’ scheme of Grid and Group and the Pierre Bourdieu’s conceptual tools of field, capital and habitus. Findings – The “Grid and Group” Culture Theory with Bourdieu’s theoretical tools evident in the papers provide powerful tools to explore the relationship between ethnicity and accounting both conceptually and empirically, suggesting that ethnicity can be deployed to reveal and challenge institutionalised racism. This paper highlights the potential to integrate elements of the “Grid and Group” Culture Theory and Bourdieu’s theoretical tools. The issue of ethnicity and the relationship between ethnicity and accounting should be more fruitfully explored in future.
Research limitations/implications – The authors acknowledge the challenges and limitations of discussing the issue of ethnicity from any particular cultural perspective and recognise the implicit dominance of White Anglo centric perspectives within accounting research.
Originality/value – The papers presented in the special issue illustrate that the issue of ethnicity is complex and difficult to operationalise. This paper highlights the potential to move beyond the ad hoc application of theoretical and methodological concepts to operationalise coherent concepts which challenge and extend the authors’ understanding of accounting as a social and contextual practice. But to achieve this it is necessary to more clearly integrate theory, methodology, method and critique.
Keywords: Ethnicity, Accounting Research, Aboriginal Australian Accountants, Mechanisms, Discrimination, Bourdieu’s Theory, Mary Douglas DCF
JEL Classification: J71, J44, J15, J24, Z18, Z13, Z10, O57, M40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation