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Critical accounting in Scotland

Cooper, C. (2002) Critical accounting in Scotland. Critical Perspectives On Accounting, 13 (4). pp. 451-462.

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This paper considers the contemporary role of critical academic accountants. Arguably, academics have been to some extent cut off from the "real world" writing fairly inaccessible papers for each other. Critical accounting academics are certainly concerned with theory but too often they try to develop their theory without active engagement in the outside world. This could have had the effect of making them rather pessimistic about their own agency and the potential for social reform. The paper draws upon the academic and political work of Pierre Bourdieu1as an illustration of an academic who has managed to fuse theory and practice in a more optimistic manner. Critical accounting in Scotland is considered from this perspective. The case of the Clydebank asbestos sufferers is highlighted as an example of where critical accounting researchers might like to test their theoretical skills. The paper also discusses the campaign to end tuition fees in Scotland and the Centre for Social and Environmental Research which is based in Glasgow.