PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore the fluid role of accounting both as a form of power and resistance in the context of World Bank projects in the Island Kingdom of Tonga.Design/methodology/approachBourdieu’s concepts of doxa and capital provided the framework for problematizing the fluidity of practices of accounting as both a form of power and of resistance. The authors used a qualitative field study design based on a combination of a documentary analysis of these loan agreements and interviews with key actors and informants.FindingsThe role of accounting in relation to subaltern groups is mediated by the doxic rules and existing capital arrangements at the national and the local or village level. Understanding accounting as both capital and as doxa explains why it can be both a form of power and of resistance.Practical implicationsThis study provides policy makers and foreign donors of Tonga and other Pacific Islands a deeper understanding on the struggles to implement and the impacts of accounting at local level as accounting is deployed as part of struggles in various social contexts each with its own doxa and capital arrangements.Originality/valueThis study contributes to the growing accounting body of work that seeks to better understand accounting by proposing that role of accounting as a tool for domination is mediated in various social settings by the doxic value and the existing capital arrangements in those settings.
Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 19, 2018
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