Accounting and Accountability in Competing Worlds: An Overview

Publication Name

Social and Environmental Accountability Journal


For this special issue we invited authors to consider the practice of accounting and the mobilisation of accountability in the contested spaces where worlds and values coexist in pluralist societies. We consider how accounting, as a technical practice, privileges market or economic interests and reflect on the implications for accountability to non-economic actors. Despite the limitations of accounting as merely technical, there is potential for accounting in a broader sphere to be enabling. This overview considers studies that have harnessed interdisciplinary approaches to identify the challenges for social and environmental accounting practice. In doing so, we acknowledge that achieving a normative ideal of accountability in pluralist societies requires a consensus understanding of the ‘common good’, the role of social movements in promoting an emancipatory civil society while recognising the problematic nature of politically mediated discourse.

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