On Interdisciplinary Movements: The Development of a Network of Support Around Foucaultian Perspectives in Accounting Research
Posted: 26 Sep 2005
This paper seeks to better understand interdisciplinary movements in the making. Our investigation focuses on the processes through which a network of support surrounding Michel Foucault's ideas originally developed in the sociological and organizational stream of accounting research. Drawing on the sociology of translation, we first examine how a network of support emerged around the journal Accounting, Organizations and Society (AOS), which is generally perceived as the main vector of dissemination of sociological and organizational accounting research. Our investigation then focuses on how Foucault's ideas, a few years after the founding of AOS, came to the attention of a group of accounting academics in the United Kingdom - a group in which the editor-in-chief of AOS was a key actor. We also examine how a network of support surrounding Foucault's ideas subsequently developed in the greater accounting research community. Our analysis emphasizes the role of epistemological uncertainty in the constitution of networks of support around journals and ideas, and the role of trials of strength (Latour, 1987) in fuelling or mitigating this uncertainty, thereby influencing actors' interests and commitments to particular networks. Our analysis also highlights the critical role that imitation and social differentiation play in the travel of ideas between scientific fields and the creation of scientific knowledge.
Keywords: Epistemological uncertainty, Interdisciplinary movements, Michel Foucault, Networks of support, Sociology of translation, Travel of ideas
JEL Classification: M40, B31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation