آموزش حسابداری انتقادی: آموزش و یادگیری خارج از چرخه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10354||2004||22 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 15, Issues 4–5, May–July 2004, Pages 565–586
The development of the corporate university is an element in the suite of “economically rational” public policy changes promulgated in recent decades. Working from a position that the practice of accounting is centrally implicated in these changes, it is contended in this paper that accounting, and accounting education, can in fact play a part in challenging these positions. Extant accounting research is sufficiently well-developed such that we are aware of the conflicts and contradictions both within accounting and flowing from the practice of the discipline, yet the effect of this body of knowledge on the content of teaching and learning within the accounting classroom remains limited. By and large, accounting education continues to be constrained within narrowly defined, but mis-conceived, disciplinary boundaries, focusing on the techniques and “skills” of accounting practice. In outlining a case for broadening the accounting education curriculum, this paper adopts the heuristic of “tangential thinking” as a means of transcending narrowly constructed disciplinary boundaries. In doing so, it is suggested that accounting education reform needs to go well beyond the putative reform agenda of the organised professional accounting bodies. The exploration of tangents lead to areas of knowledge that initially seem to be outside of accounting, but which nevertheless have an integral connection to the realities of the practice of the discipline. The paper outlines a case for tangential thinking in teaching and learning activities in the accounting classroom, within extant accreditation and curricular arrangements. Teaching and learning “outside the circle” in this manner is suggested as a way to make accounting education relevant in its socio-historical context and, particularly, relevant to the lived experience of students.
Contemporary university activity is increasingly centred on the narrow goals of preparing students for work and meeting the needs of business for trained workers. The resultant socialisation of students into disciplined compliance with the values of the present social order (see Aronowitz, 2000 and Aronowitz, 2001), is in sharp contrast to the “ideal” university as a community of scholars with a role in reflecting on and problematising the pervasive ideas of the times (see Craig et al., 1999 and Newman, 1996) and providing an active space for difference, debate, and even dissent (Aronowitz, 2000). The influence of business has become so significant that corporate acceptability has become a yardstick for university operations (Rappert, 1995, p. 388) and corporate “branding” of university activity seems to be the order of the day (Klein, 2001). Parker (2002) considers that the impacts on university financial/funding, education, and research subsystems have been so deep that they are changing the interpretive schemes of the university lifeworld: Core values of universities now include financial viability, vocational relevance, industry relationships, market share, public profile, and customer/client responsiveness. These values are transparently reflective of business enterprise values as private sector business concepts and practices have been increasingly imported into the university sector … Scholarship, knowledge development and transmission, and critical inquiry have been transformed from fundamental core values of the university lifeworld into exploitable intellectual capital for the pursuit of the “new” enterprise university core values … Knowledge based values formerly comprising the lifeworld have been supplanted by commercial values that now exploit subservient knowledge values for their commercial contribution (Parker, 2002, pp. 612–613, 616). Not only have universities taken on meeting the needs of business as their core mission, universities have increasingly come to resemble businesses themselves (Alexander, 1996, Klein, 2001, Marginson, 2000 and Saravanamuthu and Tinker, 2002). Within universities, executive leaders have been key change agents, but their actions are largely “disconnected from the academic and administrative community they supposedly lead” (Parker, 2002, p. 609). All aspects of university activity and academic work, and conditions under which teaching and learning activities occur, have been affected. For example: • Course design: increasing influence of professional and commercial interests; • Course content: increasing commodification of curricula and influence of multinational textbook publishers; • Student context and support: significantly larger class sizes and decreases in student support; • Student numbers: massive growth, transforming many institutions into mass education providers; • Vocationalisation: a shift towards vocationally based training with a decline in socially critical functions; • Service provision: outsourcing and cost shifting to students and academic departments; • Academic work: reduced academic autonomy and restrictions on academic freedom; • Job security: casualisation of university labour and contract teaching; • Infrastructure: postponement or elimination of building construction and maintenance; and “Internationalisation”: pervasive influence of Western cultural patterns of thinking without reference to appropriateness for students from a range of country settings (see Boyce, 2002, Lewis, 1998 and Parker, 2002, for example). Change in universities is often explained or justified as being a result of “globalisation” and a claimed need to comply with market and other external forces. Parker (2002), for instance, variously attributes university change to “external environmental pressures”, “external disturbances” and “the [government] funding crunch” and Latham (2001) sees the need for change as flowing from the “fiscal crisis of the state”. A particular problem with these conceptions is that, in effect, economic rationalism becomes both the “referent and the ideal for change” (see Aronowitz and Giroux, 1993, p. 214). By contrast, analysis of the active role of public policy settings shows the strategic role of the state in reorienting academic activity towards serving the needs of global capital. This demonstrates that university change is driven as much by deliberate government action in support of a particularly narrow set of economic and political interests as anything else (see Boyce, 2002). Indeed, many of the changes in academia are a result of the state’s “direct interventionist role vis à vis the intellectuals … to control their activities by using financial and economic incentives” (Dominelli and Hoogvelt, 1996, p. 201), having the (desired) effect of marginalising oppositional spaces and voices.1 Despite the extent and pace of change to date, the future for universities remains undetermined, and academic action-in-the-present will continue to be significant in shaping that future. The ongoing dialectical tension between education as domination and education as emancipation (see Dillard and Tinker, 1996, McPhail, 1999 and McPhail, 2001a) means that possibilities for transcendence are inherent in the present situation, and that educational endeavour has a significant role to play. Individual and collective actions, including those of academics, students and university administrators, can have significant effects within universities and the wider society. In this paper I consider how accounting education—and accounting academics—might respond to the state of affairs outlined above. The practice of accounting is a key element in operationalising the “economically rational” public policy changes referred to above, and it thus follows that accounting may have some part to play in challenging these positions. Indeed, accounting research is sufficiently well-developed such that the conflicts and contradictions both within accounting and flowing from the practice of the discipline are well-known. Yet the effect of this body of knowledge on the content of teaching and learning within the accounting classroom remains limited. Accounting education has traditionally been narrowly defined within disciplinary boundaries that exclude consideration of anything outside the policies and practices of the discipline as such. In contradistinction, I outline a case for consciously adopting tangential thinking as a heuristic for the transcendence of mis-conceived, narrowly constructed disciplinary boundaries. The remainder of the paper is divided into four sections. The next section briefly contextualises accounting education by considering the role of universities in changing times and the interplay between universities and social change, showing that the dialectical interplay between the university as a social institution and society itself remains a source of possibility for the creation of alternative futures. This is followed by a short outline of the present state of accounting education, incorporating the now-established reform agenda emanating from the organised accounting profession. The third section, on practising critical accounting education, outlines how academics themselves might respond to this state of affairs in a critical way, making a case for broadening the ambit of accounting education. The notion of “tangents”, as areas of knowledge that seem outside of accounting, but which have an integral connection to accounting, is used to make a case for the practice of critical accounting education within extant broad accreditation and curricular frameworks. It is noted that accounting academics who tread the critical accounting path with their students are likely to encounter resistance in this endeavour, but the implications for academics of not doing so, are discussed in the concluding section.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Wherever, and however, accounting students work in their post-graduation lives, the practice of accounting will be used in ways that have direct effects on them, their local communities, and communities of interest across the globe. Accounting students/graduates are as likely to have accounting done to them as by them. The narrowness of conventional accounting education, which prepares students only for an assumed future career in the practice of the discipline, focusing on a managerial, corporate perspective, and privileging the preparers and immediate users of accounting reports hardly seems relevant in these circumstances. The perspective of accounting from a broad user perspective, or, even, that of accounting’s victims, including those not involved in ownership or management, is more directly relevant. Rather than an excessive focus on the minutiae of “this and that” aspect of technical accounting procedures, relevant accounting education must prepare students for informed action in and on the world. This must include a developing understanding of the relation of accounting to the mundane activities, language, and interactions of daily life engaged in by both academics and students, and how these relate to the larger social system within which they are embedded. It is in this realm that ideas, conceptions, and consciousness itself are produced, effected, and reproduced (Marx and Engels, 1970, p. 47). However, critical accounting thought extends well beyond the life of individuals: social life and the lives of others, including their ideas, hopes and sufferings, are equally important considerations, because every person is “a citizen of a wider world” (Gramsci in Forgacs, 1999, p. 68). The social implications of accounting education have assumed greater significance in recent times, as a growing proportion of accounting practitioners carry formal university qualifications. This has meant that “an accounting mentality consistent with the dominant world view throughout society is growing in importance” (Booth and Cocks, 1990, p. 400; see Gray and Collison, 2002). Indeed, in the present context, it is evident that the monolingual mentality and worldview represented by mainstream accounting (see Chua, 1996) is writ large in the corporatised university. Individual accounting academics might deny responsibility by asserting that it is “someone else’s job” to consider the social, environmental, ideological, and political dimensions of accounting, but the obvious response to such a position is “who could be regarded as more responsible for this than accounting educators themselves?” The professional accreditation arrangements, which facilitate the inclusion of critical content within a broader purview of what accounting actually is, do represent something of a contradiction: … there is the question of how creative to those who employ accountants really want them to be? Few if any prospective employers would deny that they are seeking adaptable, dynamic, inventive, open-minded, lateral thinking, etc., staff. But … these qualities, if widely distributed, might prove problematic given the existence of the social and technical divisions of labour, the general application of accounting formulae, the intrusion of politics and so on. One of the dangers of encouraging students to think about accountancy is that they might be tempted to think about other things as well. (Roslender, 1992, p. 208) In this regard, the ostensible and official commitment to the development of accountants as broadly educated and creative critical thinkers could be motivated by rhetoric, ideology, or a genuine commitment to criticism and critique. Whatever the motivation, formal accreditation arrangements, along with the academic freedom that remains with academics, allow for the traditional socialisation roles of accounting education to be transcended. Extant social structures will be nurtured, on the one hand, in an absence of consciousness of their causes, effects, and contingency, and, on the other hand, action based on that consciousness. For accounting educators, the acknowledged role of accounting in social production and reproduction means that accounting itself is a part of this domain. An “educational project” for change in accounting can interact with broader social change which, in turn, brings systematic change to education (see Freire, 1996 and Gramsci, 1971). Those academics who fail to consciously make choices between reproducing the system (and its inherent problems and injustices) or taking an active role in the creation of alternatives, or who endeavour to take pragmatic “middle of the road” or pluralistic positions, “championing moderation, consensus and compliance”, will tend to act in ways that have the effect of sustaining, protecting, and preserving the status quo (Tinker, 1986 and Tinker et al., 1991, p. 29). It is not possible to assume away the political content of education: Educators at all levels … have to be seen as intellectuals, who as mediators, legitimators, and producers of ideas and social practices, perform a pedagogical function that is eminently political in nature. (Aronowitz and Giroux, 1993, p. 31) None of this should be taken to suggest that enlightened accounting educators can “save the world”. But they can play a part, and accounting educators must constantly address the question of how their own time, effort, and dedication as intellectuals might make a contribution to a larger process: The fact is that only by degrees, one stage at a time, has humanity acquired consciousness of its own value and won for itself the right to throw off the patterns of organization imposed on it by minorities at a previous period in history. And this consciousness was formed not under the brutal goad of psychological necessity, but as a result of intelligent reflection, at first by just a few people and later by a whole class, on why certain conditions exist and how best to convert the facts of vassalage into the signals of rebellion and social reconstruction …(Gramsci in Forgacs, 1999, p. 58) In the accounting classroom, teaching and learning outside the circle—“going off on tangents”—is a way that accounting educators can bring a broader, socio-historically informed definition of accounting to students and teachers alike, creating possibilities for the development of a socially relevant accounting education. Exploring and explaining what might seem prima facie tangential to accounting itself actually creates space for considering the links between accounting and the lived reality faced by students. Such educational content and process has the potential to be transformational for students and teachers, and, through them, for the larger social system. It can thereby be genuinely critical.