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Counter accounts of profit: outrage to action through “just” calculation

Counter accounts of profit: outrage to action through “just” calculation Profit is often moralized by activists, but scant research has carefully examined what profit is for these activists or how they use it to create a more just world. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how social movements use counter accounts of profit as tools of resistance.Design/methodology/approachA multiple case study design, informed by framing theory, is used to trace the framing of profit from activists’ counter accounts to actions they precipitated. Specifically, the study examines counter accounts of profit from the UK abolition movement, Médecines Sans Frontières access to essential medicines campaign and Brigitte Bardot Foundation’s opposition to the Canadian seal hunt, and how their framings of profit influenced change.FindingsActivists reframe profit to create visibilities and bridges to the suffering of distant others. Reframing the calculation and boundary of profit is a strategy to elicit moral outrage, hope and ultimately a more just world. Through these reframings, activists in three different social movements were able to change the possibilities of who and what can be profitable, and how.Social implicationsThe inherently incomplete nature of accounting frames give rise to accounting’s vulnerability to non-accountants to assert their views of a moral profit. Accounting therefore is both a means of control at a distance but also “emancipation at a distance.”Originality/valueScholars have asserted that accounting can be used for resistance, few studies have examined how. By examining how activists assert what profit is – and should be – the paper documents and theorizes profit as contested and highlights accounting’s emancipatory potential. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal Emerald Publishing

Counter accounts of profit: outrage to action through “just” calculation

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0951-3574
DOI
10.1108/aaaj-03-2018-3432
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Profit is often moralized by activists, but scant research has carefully examined what profit is for these activists or how they use it to create a more just world. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how social movements use counter accounts of profit as tools of resistance.Design/methodology/approachA multiple case study design, informed by framing theory, is used to trace the framing of profit from activists’ counter accounts to actions they precipitated. Specifically, the study examines counter accounts of profit from the UK abolition movement, Médecines Sans Frontières access to essential medicines campaign and Brigitte Bardot Foundation’s opposition to the Canadian seal hunt, and how their framings of profit influenced change.FindingsActivists reframe profit to create visibilities and bridges to the suffering of distant others. Reframing the calculation and boundary of profit is a strategy to elicit moral outrage, hope and ultimately a more just world. Through these reframings, activists in three different social movements were able to change the possibilities of who and what can be profitable, and how.Social implicationsThe inherently incomplete nature of accounting frames give rise to accounting’s vulnerability to non-accountants to assert their views of a moral profit. Accounting therefore is both a means of control at a distance but also “emancipation at a distance.”Originality/valueScholars have asserted that accounting can be used for resistance, few studies have examined how. By examining how activists assert what profit is – and should be – the paper documents and theorizes profit as contested and highlights accounting’s emancipatory potential.

Journal

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: May 15, 2020

Keywords: Social movements; Framing; Profit; Counter accounts

References