Accounting and social movements: an exploration of critical accounting praxis

Lesley Catchpowle, Stewart Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
214 Downloads (Pure)


A central tenet of critical accounting research maintains the need to challenge and change existing social relations; moving towards a more emancipated and equitable social order. The question of how critical accounting research upholds this principle has been intermittently discussed. This paper aims to engage with, and further, this discussion by contributing to research linking accounting information to social movements. The paper reviews the literature on accounting and social movements, central to which is the work of Gallhofer and Haslam; using their work as a departure point we discussion the nature of accounting information and focus on social movement unionism (SMU). Drawing on Bakhtinian dialogics and classical Marxism we develop an alternative theoretical framework to analyse an example of accounting information and social movements, covering a trade union pay dispute. The paper concludes with a discussion of the class nature of accounting information, including an exploration of the implications for accounting praxis and agency in the struggles for an emancipated world. The paper builds on the limited amount of existing work in this area; exploring the ‘class belongingness’ of accounting information and developing an understanding which can help guide the praxis of critical accounting researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-234
Number of pages14
JournalAccounting Forum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2016


  • Social movements
  • Accounting information
  • Class
  • Praxis
  • Dialogics


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