Vulgate accountability : insights from the field of football

Cooper, Christine and Johnston, J. (2012) Vulgate accountability : insights from the field of football. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 25 (4). pp. 602-634. ISSN 0951-3574 (

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The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon accountability in the field of football. It considers accountability in football and uses the recent take-over of Manchester United football club by Malcolm Glazer in order to highlight some of the accountability issues which are at stake on the field. The paper draws upon the theoretical insights provided by Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Lacan. It takes the unusual theoretical perspective through its use and fusion of the theoretical concepts of Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Lacan. The paper finds that popular definitions of accountability are difficult to tie down, but have come to mean the provision of information and perhaps the compliance with certain codes of practice. But accountability has lost its political force. The signifier 'accountability' when applied to corporations may, on the face of it, appear to mean that the populous are being given some control, but in practice, this is not the case. The paper considers one particular episode in one club. It could be argued that this episode was unique. However, this episode serves to highlight some important structural facets of the field. The paper's focus on the popular cultural form of football is fairly unique as is its fusion of Bourdieu and Lacan.