«این انگلستان است»:دیالکتیک واقع گرا / ایده آلیستی پانک راک و پیامدهای آن برای آموزش حسابداری انتقادی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting Forum, Volume 33, Issue 2, June 2009, Pages 127–145
This paper studies the lyrics of two songs from the Clash, one of the two most important bands from the U.K.'s ‘first wave of punk’ scene. The paper interprets the songs within their institutional, social, economic and political context, i.e. pre-Thatcher and Thatcher Britain. I then draw out the implications of the Clash's punk ideology for critical accounting educators today, and especially the implications for ethics education. The Clash's message and moral compass are especially relevant today as (like the Clash's England) both Bush's America and an immediately post-Howard Australia have been vastly altered by a harsh neo-liberalism under which alternative (and especially collectivist) voices have been frequently mocked and suppressed. The Clash was able to simultaneously be both realist and idealist and, whilst this contradiction captured the hearts of many, the classic line-up of the band was to disintegrate under the weight of its own contradictions. The critical accounting community is reminded to continue to aspire to both aspects of the realist/idealist dialectic that is so vividly apparent in the Clash's powerful and poignant early work and especially from the self-titled debut album up to Sandinista!
This paper investigates the value system and ideology of the ‘first wave of punk’ (Heylin, 2007, pp. 179, 447) (music) movement of the mid- to late-1970s and considers what insights or lessons it might hold for critical accounting education.1 I study the lyrics of a band considered to be at the epicentre of the first wave of punk movement during the period under review (1977–1982) – the Clash – as well as band interviews and other secondary sources, and relevant song lyrics of other important punk acts such as Rancid and Transplants. The Sex Pistols and the Clash were, by some considerable margin, the two most important bands of the U.K.-based first wave of punk, typically defined as 1976–1978 ( Gilbert, 2004, Heylin, 2007, Lander, 2006 and Savage, 2006).2 Both bands can rightfully be regarded as the founding fathers of today's punk and hardcore punk movements. Steve Severin, an early punk scene identity, stated to the authors of the Johnny Rotten/Lydon biography Rotten: no Irish, no blacks, no dogs in 1994 that he felt that no music movement since punk's first wave had been able to present “such an awesome ideology and attitude” to the music world and to the broader society (cited in Lydon et al., 1994, p. 185). Never before or since has the world of popular music disrupted the lives of the non-musical in such a profound way. In Severin's words, “I keep waiting to see if something as powerful, as equally meaningful, will happen again, and I haven’t seen it”. It is in the message and the history of the Clash that punk rock's realist/idealist dialectic is most apparent.3 For most of their career, the members of the Clash endeavoured to hold on to both the realist and idealist aspects of their position simultaneously. As such, they were in some ways a living contradiction and the pressure of living out a seemingly contradictory position took its toll, wearing out the band and leading to the eventual disintegration of the classic line-up in 1982. It can be truly said that the Clash fell apart under the weight of its own contradictions. Despite this, the band gave hope to many of society's underclass and left-leaning intellectuals during a dark period of neo-liberal excess under Thatcher (Emery, 2007, chap. VI). The Clash's popularity, sales success and long-term influence suggest that they have and had an important message and one that resonates with a large section of the community. Their message in fact speaks directly to the spiritual yearnings of their hearers who long for release from the oppression, isolation, disenfranchisement and boredom of the contemporary globalized capitalist system (Emery, 2007, chap. VI).4 The Clash is extremely relevant today because the neo-liberalism of Howard's Australia and Bush's America both bear striking similarities to 1980s Britain.5 The neo-liberal agenda under the Prime Ministership of John Howard (1996–2007) captured large sections of the Australian media; alternative voices (especially collectivist voices) were largely mocked and silenced in public debate and in the newspapers during the Howard years. The Clash's boldness, good humour, compassion, egalitarianism, and indeed their moral values can give hope and strength to those in Australia today who reject the harshness of the nation that Howard steadily moulded into his own reactionary image during his seemingly never-ending four terms in power (Maddox, 2005, p. x). This paper aims to discover what the Clash's moral values were, why the band spoke directly to the hearts of so many people, and how contemporary critical accounting educators can best learn from the band and bring its radical moral compass into the classroom. My research into the popular punk rock literature indicates that in its early days the punk community was characterized by the following normative ethical values: (a) do-it-yourself (DIY) work-ethic and “aesthetic” (Antonia et al., 2006, pp. 117, 120, 166, 278; Heylin, 2007, pp. 85, 265–266, 575–576; Lydon et al., 1994, p. 273); (b) distrust of the political institutions of the Welfare State (Emery, 2007, chap. VI); (c) anti-capitalism and anti-alienation inherent in the capitalist production process (regarding capitalist-created alienation see Marx, 1973 and Marx, 1975; Robertson, 1977, pp. 372, 416–418; Wallace & Wolf, 2006, pp. 87–89); (d) “street-level viewpoint” or “emotive proletariat spirit” (Myers, 2006; see also Heylin, 2007, p. 21); (e) compassion for the marginalized; (f) emphasis on inner strength and perseverance to overcome adversity; and (g) complete sincerity, honesty and integrity (Emery, 2007, chap. VI; Heylin, 2007, pp. 17, 38, 539, 567, 615; Lydon et al., 1994, pp. 94, 260; Savage, 2005, pp. 115, 187).6 In this paper, I use the term “alienation” in the conventional Marxist sense to mean “estrangement of the worker from the means of production, the product produced, her/his true nature (species-being) and from other workers and society” (Marx, 1975, pp. 327–330). Estrangement emerges due to the contradiction in capitalist production between the social ownership of production and the private ownership of wealth. Alienation is complete in late capitalism, where labour is really subsumed (Marx, 1976, pp. 948–1084), and to cite Bryer (2006, pp. 561–564), workers are no longer held accountable to capital merely for commodities as “things”, but instead are held accountable for the rate of return on capital employed (or, in Marx's, 1981, words, the “rate of profit”). In other words, for Marx as well as for Bryer, labour is held fully accountable in such cases where capital does not sufficiently valorize itself or the process of creating capital from capital does not occur on a sufficient scale. All of the punk community values mentioned above in my opinion are worthy internal ethics. They suggest a ‘virtue ethics’ (Boyce, 2006; Gay & Simnett, 2007, p. 84; Grace & Cohen, 1995, pp. 28–32; Leung et al., 2007, pp. 64–65) approach to ethics, rather than either a ‘teleological’ (consequences-based), or ‘deontological’ (duty- and principle-based) approach. Expressed in bumper-sticker format, virtue-ethics is about “who I am, not what I do”. Teleological ethics (Gaita, 2004, pp. 20, 55–62; Gay & Simnett, 2007, p. 83; Grace & Cohen, 1995, pp. 21–23; Leung et al., 2007, pp. 63–64) is more a denial of ethics, since it reduces ethics to a calculative action; can be used to justify almost any means to obtain a desired end (Grace & Cohen, 1995, p. 22); and also leaves hanging in the air and only ever partially resolved the vital question of “consequences for whom?” (Levitas, 1974, p. 165). The third approach (deontological ethics; Boyce, 2006; Gay & Simnett, 2007, pp. 83–84; Grace & Cohen, 1995, pp. 23–28; Leung et al., 2007, p. 64), whilst admirable in many ways, fails to consider the impact of actions on real people. Furthermore, it allows little room to be spontaneously moved to action by emotions or instincts such as empathy-compassion (Adorno, 1994a, p. 134; Langmore & Quiggin, 1994, pp. 41–44, 103; McPhail, 1999, pp. 858–860; Tinker, 1999 and Tinker, 2005). There appears to be a contradiction when we investigate Karl Marx's approach to morality and ethics. On the one hand, it is said that in real life he would openly laugh in the face of anyone who raised the issue of ‘morality’ (Blumberg, 1989, p. 170). In The German Ideology, Marx and Engels (1994b, p. 112) write: “Morality, religion, metaphysics, and all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness no longer seem to be independent. They have no [separate] history or development. Rather, men, who develop their material production and their material relationships alter their thinking and the products of their thinking along with their real existence”. Marx's position is somewhat consistent with Michel Foucault (1981) who argued in his History of Sexuality Volume 1 that a controlling and oppressive discourse about sex was first imposed by the bourgeoisie upon its own members before it was then imposed upon the other classes. However, despite his negative attitudes towards imposed codes of morality, Marx is obviously and openly wrought with compassion and indignation in those chapters of Capital (e.g. Chapters 10 and 15 of Volume 1 and Chapter 5 of Volume 3; Marx, 1976 and Marx, 1981) where he describes the practices of capitalists and the working conditions that they encourage and permit (Blumberg, 1989, p. 170; Tinker, 1999). Some would regard Marx's stance in these chapters as demonstrating a sensitive awareness of real-life ethical issues. Why would Marx walk from his tenement in Soho day after day and year after year to the British Museum to pore over the writings of the classical economists, Adam Smith and David Ricardo, and the statistical blue-books, if not for compassion for the working class? In Louis Althusser's (2005, p. 82) words: “[T]he extraordinary sensitivity to the concrete … gave such force of conviction and revelation to each of his [Marx's] encounters with reality”. We reach the same conclusion when we read Friedrich Engels’ (1987) heart-wrenching descriptions of the living conditions that the Irish poor had to endure in 1840s Manchester in his The Condition of the Working Class in England. Simone Weil (2006, p. 45) wrote that people's senses instinctively recoil in the face of the affliction of others. This was never true for Marx or Engels nor was it the case for the Clash. Marx's compassion and indignation which arose within him in response to sub-standard working conditions, combined with his opposition to top-down imposition of rules of morality, would suggest that Marx's (and Engels’) approach to ethics is fully compatible with the virtue ethics position. Martin (1998, p. 79) claims that “[r]endering Marx serviceable for the present may turn out to be a better use of energies, than … [attacking straw-men of postmodernism]”. I agree with this comment and, following Tinker (1999), note that Marx's compassion for the victims of sub-standard working conditions is likely to be one aspect of him which will appeal to contemporary accounting students and academics. Drawing attention to this aspect of Marx is much less likely to alienate people than the dogmatic preaching of socialism. For his part, Foucault (1987, pp. 78–91, 211–212) argues that a form of sexual ethics which could be called virtue ethics developed in Ancient Greece whereby a man was expected to exhibit self-mastery and moderation in all things. These characteristics were held to be necessary pre-requisites to being appointed to any office of public service because if a person cannot master himself, how could he master the affairs of public life? This sexual ethics is a virtue ethics because it relates to a person's personalized control of herself/himself or, in Foucault's terminology, the person creates and acts upon herself/himself as ethical subject. Virtue ethics, of course, is not without its limitations. It is not a good basis for debates in the political and public spheres about preferred courses of action since it is about character rather than actions per se. Since the manner in which the importance of various virtues are weighed up in decision making is a subjective and private decision, public figures using an exclusively virtue ethics approach cannot be easily held accountable to the community for their actions. It seems that virtue ethics may not be a sufficient basis for the conducting of debates and for the enforcement of accountability in the public and political spheres. In most advanced financial accounting courses taught today, ethics is constantly discussed but economic rationalism and managerialism still dominate the scene (Amernic & Craig, 2004, p. 351; Boyce, 2004, Boyce, 2006, James, 2007, Kaidonis, 2004 and McPhail, 1999; Thomson & Bebbington, 2004). In the weeks devoted to studying ethics in the final-year undergraduate courses Accounting Theory and Auditing, the teleological and deontological approaches and the functionalist decision-models, e.g. the American Accounting Association (AAA) (Boyce, 2006; Gay & Simnett, 2007, p. 88), Mary Guy (Gay & Simnett, 2007, p. 88) and Laura Nash (Gay & Simnett, 2007, p. 89) models, occupy large chunks of class time (Boyce, 2006).7 Students routinely separate the ‘accounting’ part of their life from the ‘other’ parts of their life and ethics teaching is content to work within, and even encourages, this separation (Boyce, 2006 and McPhail, 1999, p. 846). Students reach the conclusion, as a result of their first- and second-year classes, that all that matters in accounting is ‘calculating the right numbers’ (Boyce, 2006 and McPhail, 1999, pp. 836, 848) and later ethics education does little to outrightly critique this worldview. The hidden agenda is that computing ‘right numbers’ (when it occurs by graduates in the ‘real world’) supports the capitalist system and allows it to reproduce itself and to expand. As Amernic and Craig (2004) correctly point out, this hidden ideology is rarely brought to the surface but is a silent undercurrent that permeates (nearly) all textbook content and classroom discussions. Accounting ethics education is conducted within the confines of business education which is itself dominated by the neo-classical economics worldview and the false gods of market and shareholder wealth maximization (Amernic & Craig, 2004, pp. 351–352; Maddox, 2005, p. 25). A lack of ethics is attributed, not to the capitalist system, but to ‘bad’ individuals making ‘wrong choices’ within the system (Amernic & Craig, 2004, p. 351; Boyce, 2006 and Elsner, 2004, p. 175). For example, Arens et al. (2007) put forward the (all too common) view that everyone in ‘society’ is in agreement over what is ethical conduct, and unethical conduct occurs only when bad individuals consciously choose to break society's (known and universally agreed upon) ethical laws. In Arens et al.'s (2007, p. 114) words: “There are two primary reasons why people act unethically: (1) the person's ethical standards are different from those of society as a whole; or (2) the person chooses to act selfishly. In many instances, [and here is a revelation] both reasons exist”. Furthermore, “[m]ost people who commit such acts [the examples the authors give are drug dealing, bank robbery, and larceny] feel no remorse when they are apprehended because their ethical standards differ from those of the society they have offended” (p. 114). People are, therefore, either drug dealers or part of the Moral Majority; there are no in-between or grey categories in this cartoonish world of Arens et al. (2007). Arens et al. (2007) do not bother to clarify whether unethical individuals are bad from birth/childhood or whether they are only classified as bad because of their recent actions. Whether this ambiguity is deliberate or accidental, it does assist in reinforcing Arens et al.'s (2007) general point that a wide chasm separates members of the small unethical class from the members of the Moral Majority. The Arens et al. (2007) worldview is simplistic because it ignores the institutional, social, economic and political context (Boyce, 2006; Grace & Cohen, 1995, pp. 67–69; Haslanger, 2004; Jones & Fleming, 2003; Sy & Tinker, 2006, p. 111), economic and social inequalities, and also the fact that the views of ‘society’ come in practice to be dominated by the hegemony of the dominant ideology (Althusser, 2006; Ezzamel, Xiao, & Pan, 2006), or in Marx and Engels, 1994a and Marx and Engels, 1994b words the “ruling class” and their “ruling ideas”. Furthermore, it is unlikely that, except in a few clear-cut cases such as preventing child abuse, society's members will all agree on what is ‘the right thing to do’ in any given ethical dilemma (Amernic & Craig, 2004, p. 348). Regarding the importance of context in business ethics, a contemporary Australian example is ‘Dr. Death’ aka Dr. Jayant Patel who allegedly contributed to 100 deaths at Bundaberg Base Hospital in Central Queensland in 2003–2004 (Kennedy & Walker, 2007; Miles, 2007). The ‘unethical behaviour is due to bad individuals making wrong choices’ theory clearly has some validity in this context. Patel performed certain complex operations which he had been banned from performing in the U.S.A. However, it is far from being the complete story. Virginia Kennedy, a nurse who worked at Bundaberg and with Patel, has gone public to emphasize that the hospital was “a disaster waiting to happen before he [Patel] even came there” (Miles, 2007). The reason was the hospital's relentless pursuit of cost cutting and profit maximization goals (Kennedy & Walker, 2007; Miles, 2007). In contemporary accounting ethics education, no space is typically provided for students to critically appraise capitalism and the pressures to act unethically that it routinely imposes upon its various players (Amernic & Craig, 2004, p. 359); no alternative system to capitalism is ever presented or permitted to be imagined (Boyce, 2006). By contrast, for Martin (1998, p. 85), as well as for the present author, globalized capitalism “can no longer hold out the recessed promise of its own future, for that has arrived or been brought to the surface, and placed in contact with what all other demands on society might be”. Mainstream accounting ethics education often proceeds as if unethical behaviour by definition occurs when an agent, as in agency theory, chooses to depart from the wealth maximization framework and take an action which fails to maximize the wealth of the principal ( Boyce, 2006 and McPhail, 1999, pp. 836, 846). In this context, shareholder-wealth maximization is the ‘new black’ (Amernic & Craig, 2004, pp. 351–352). However, even mainstream business ethics authors such as Grace and Cohen (1995, p. 63) dispute the view that profit-making can be called an ethical value or virtue. These authors argue that no manager acting purely from the self-interest motive to increase profit can rightfully claim to be taking an ethical action (i.e. an action which is guided by ethics, or one that has an ethical component, or one that is ethical at its core). For this paper I conduct a detailed analysis of the lyrics of two important mid-period Clash songs, and place these songs within their institutional, social, economic and political context (Boyce, 2006; Grace & Cohen, 1995; Haslanger, 2004; Jones & Fleming, 2003; Sy & Tinker, 2006, p. 111), i.e. pre-Thatcher and Thatcher-period Britain. This was a historical period characterized by the abandonment of post-war ‘consensus’, the U.K.'s slide into recession (unemployment doubled from 2.7% in December 1974 to 5.5% in December 1976 and increased still further to 6% or 1.6 million by summer 1977; Savage, 2005, pp. 266–267, 480), tense negotiations between the Callaghan Labour Government and the International Monetary Fund over enforced public service cuts (Savage, 2005, p. 480), and the emergence of both the New Right with its discourse of ‘decency’ and ‘middle-class values’ and the fascist National Front (Savage, 2005 and Spicer, 2006, pp. 36, 44). I then draw upon insights gained from the lyric study to offer some suggestions as to how critical accounting education can best appropriate and draw upon the multi-faceted and highly inter-woven legacy of the Clash (and the band's realist/idealist dialectic). A predominantly virtue ethics emphasis for ethics education is re-affirmed, consistent with the ideology and values of the Clash. I argue, consistent with Amernic and Craig (2004), that students need to be exposed to a presentation of the capitalist production process which outlines the alienation and exploitation of workers and the workplace-marketplace environments that the process is responsible for. In addition, students should be encouraged to encounter, experience, and if necessary ‘wrestle with’ through dialogue, ‘the Other’ with a view to developing key ethical characteristics of understanding, compassion and empathy (Adorno, 1994a; Langmore & Quiggin, 1994; McPhail, 1999, Tinker, 1999 and Tinker, 2005). As such, a critical accounting ethics education will locate ethical issues and dilemmas within their wider institutional, social, economic and political context, i.e. for the author and his immediate environment Kevin Rudd's Australia ( Maddox, 2005, Pataki, 2004 and Stratton, 1998), post 9–11, post the 2001 ‘Tampa election’, post the 2005 ‘Cronulla riots’ and post-11 years of the Howard Government.8 If late capitalism is critically evaluated from the viewpoint of an objective but concerned outsider (Amernic & Craig, 2004, p. 359), rather than from the viewpoint of an insider who can envisage no alternative, then students will develop the skills needed to make informed decisions as to how they will best respond to the contemporary issues and individuals that are a part of, or a by-product of, the current system (Amernic & Craig, 2004, pp. 351–352). The remainder of the paper is structured as follows. Section 2 introduces the first wave of punk and the Clash to the reader; Section 3 outlines research method; Section 4 provides a context-anchored analysis of lyrics from two important mid-period Clash songs; whilst Section 5 discusses the implications of the Clash's realist/idealist dialectic for critical accounting educators and then concludes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper has studied the song lyrics of two important mid-period songs released by first wave of punk band the Clash. To place the interpretation of songs in context, reference was made to the lyrics of other punk bands, most notably Rancid, and various secondary sources including Savage's Sex Pistols biography England's Dreaming (2005) and Gilbert's Clash biography Passion is a Fashion (2004). I used the Marxian ( Marx, 1973, Marx, 1975 and Marx, 1976) theoretical framework of alienation to theoretically ground (although it may be pretentious to claim to “theoretically ground” such philosophical and sociological literates as the members of the Clash) the Clash's awareness of, and compassion for, the victims of the capitalist production process, and its closely related cousin inner-city life. I concur with Boyce (2006), Haslanger (2004), Grace and Cohen (1995, pp. 67–69), and Sy and Tinker (2006, p. 111) by arguing that ethics education must always site ethical dilemmas within their institutional, social, economic and political context. And I go further by pointing out that all of life is a continuous ethical issue once we no longer separate the economic from the social and the political (either in the classroom or in the real world) and once we site all human activity within the context of stratified society and the class struggle (Amernic & Craig, 2004, pp. 352, 360; Kelly, 2003, McGregor, 2001 and Wild, 1978). We need to do our best, as critical accounting educators, to hold on to both aspects of the realist/idealist dialectic of the Clash although to do so consistently and enthusiastically for any length of time is not an easy task (as the Clash's tumultuous and all too brief history reminds us). Without the realism, we become simply uninformed peddlers of utopia; without the idealism, we become just another group of academic positivists indistinguishable (except for our warmer smiles and aversion to statistics!) from the capital markets researchers, the Positive Accountants and the agency theorists. This paper's lyrics analysis has also highlighted another important ethical value that characterizes the Clash: compassion towards society's marginalized groupings (the prisoners and the old man in the bar in “Bankrobber”, the elderly World War 2 veteran in “Something about England” and the exploited working-class in both songs). Importantly, compassion-empathy is a key part of, and can be regarded as a vital pre-requisite to, McPhail's (1999) Levinasian call to “gaz[e] into the face of the Other”.24 This paper has demonstrated how Strummer in the song “Something about England” uses the tools of narrative and flashback to ‘give voice to’ (using a phrase from postmodernism) the other. This next and last section of the paper considers how critical accounting educators can best appropriate the ideology and moral compass of the Clash. What are the implications of the Clash for ethics educators of a critical persuasion today? Educators can begin with, as discussed previously, explaining and highlighting to students the objective alienation created and imposed by the capitalist production process. For a theoretical framework I recommend that educators use Marx's four-fold alienation theory (Marx, 1975, pp. 327–330). These pages clearly show how alienation can be broken down into its four conceptually separate but in practice intermeshed component parts.25 Educators should emphasize in class how alienation is a real and objective condition although the alienated may be unaware of, or choose to repress their awareness of, their alienation due to false consciousness. Alienation is an objective function of the forces and the relations of production. As Saravanamuthu and Tinker (2003) explain, when Ford introduced the moving assembly line in 1913 staff turnover increased dramatically. Alienation also simultaneously increased for the workers at Ford because each worker's identification with the finished product was correspondingly reduced. A possible theoretical framework for the Accounting Theory course taken as a whole is Saravanamuthu and Tinker's (2003) and Amernic and Craig's (2004) counter-hegemonic argument that senior management have a complicated dual obligation to both capital and labour. If the educator perceives Saravanamuthu and Tinker's (2003) theoretical framework to be more informed, balanced, and socially responsible than agency theory, then the former can be used to directly replace the latter. If the educator feels overawed after reading about the new-found power within her/his hands, the following comment from Boyce (2004, p. 577, cited in James, 2007, emphasis added) is worth recalling (and is an appropriate way to end this hopefully challenging paper): The role of lecturers in syllabus design, text selection, setting assessable work, assessment of student work, and, importantly, fronting classes, remains significant [even in the corporatised university], and the challenge is to make space in all of these activities for critical work.