University of Edinburgh Business School

Accounting, Culture & Society

Understanding the social and cultural contexts in which accounting calculations are practiced, and comprehending their impacts on people operating in diverse spheres of life, are important research themes.

For example, it is widely accepted that accounting is a formative instrument of social control; its influence is evident in systems of education, poverty relief and household-family management. Hence accounting often plays a central role in shaping social or public policy. Accounting can also be an influential factor in motivating social movements and in curbing (or giving voice to) marginalised and vulnerable groups. Equally, the interrelationship between accounting and popular culture can yield rich insights into the pervasiveness of accounting in everyday life.

Our members explore these issues both in contemporary and historical contexts, and we host the Accounting and Popular Culture Research Network.

Members of CAS researching Accounting, Culture & Society are interested in themes such as:

  • How does accounting construct social relations and social structures, particularly in the context of family-household, welfare, and educational systems?
  • What is the role of accounting in perpetuating social domination?
  • What role does accounting play in contemporary and historical settings of social crises and transformation?
  • What is the role of accounting and calculative devices in shaping understanding of large-scale social problems, such as humanitarian emergencies, sustainability, or enduring inequality?
  • How does accounting information impact upon our decision-making or actions in our everyday lives?
  • What is the role of accounting in important locales of popular culture such as the media, leisure industry, and retailing?
  • What are the cultural consequences of accounting interventions?
  • How are accountants and accounting represented in contemporary culture?
  • How do popular trends become manifest in the form of calculative technologies?