Title

A Comparative Analysis of Theological and Critical Perspectives on Emancipatory Praxis through Accounting

Department/School

Accounting

Date of this version

11-2009

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Accounting, Critical Theory, Theology, Praxis

Abstract

This paper examines the insights that the interface between critical theory and different theologies can bring to our understanding of accounting's emancipatory potential. The paper begins with a comparative analysis of critical perspectives and Jewish and Christian theological perspectives on emancipatory praxis, with a particular emphasis on emancipation from spiritual alienation. The theological perspectives are based on the two creation stories in the biblical book of Genesis and what they teach about human relationships, social justice, and spiritual development. The paper then illustrates what a theological education might be like within the context of an accounting or management degree, where the objective is to encourage business students to think reflectively, ethically, and spiritually about themselves, their profession, and other people. Next, the paper considers how alternative accounting reporting and disclosure practices can promote the spiritual development of individual persons and their communities. The conclusion discusses structural constraints that would shape and be shaped by the proposed emancipatory accounting practices, and acknowledges that other spiritual traditions besides Western theology also can be mobilized to promote emancipatory accounting education and practice in a pluralistic society.

Published in

Critical Perspectives on Accounting

Citation/Other Information

doi:10.1016/j.cpa.2009.05.005

Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 20(8), pp. 944-955.