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A discussion of the political potential of social accounting

Cooper, Christine and Taylor, Phil and Smith, Newman and Catchpowle, Lesley (2005) A discussion of the political potential of social accounting. Critical Perspectives On Accounting, 16 (7). pp. 951-974. ISSN 1045-2354

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Abstract

This paper presents a Social Account of Glasgow students' experience of working part-time while in full-time education. The Social Account was produced from an analysis of 1735 questionnaires from students in their third year at the three central Glasgow Universities. Aside from presenting a social account, the paper re-evaluates the existing mode of production of Social Accounts. The purpose of this is to add to the various streams of Social and Environmental Accounting and perhaps to point it in a slightly different direction. It argues that Social Accounts should be produced independently of the management of organizations and in order to disrupt current ideological understandings they should be theoretically driven. This paper while applauding the thoughtful and thought provoking work of many Social and Environmental researchers goes over some old arguments and presents an alternative as a means of developing the Social Accounting arena. It proposes that the production of something akin to early social audits aligned to contemporary social struggles and action groups (e.g. trade unions) would promote the potential to create a more equitable society.