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Trying to operationalise typologies of the spectacle: A literature review and a case study

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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to focus on building an interpretive framework for understanding accounting practices and changes, drawing on the situationist concept of the "spectacle". Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper reviews the existing accounting and management literature in light of the concept of the spectacle. The paper presents empirical illustrations of participatory budgeting as a form of the spectacle and the role of donor agencies in local government reforms in Uganda, based on interviews and observations. Findings ‐ It is argued that the transformational ‐ rather than just metaphoric ‐ dimension of the spectacle has the potential to provide a better understanding of accounting practices and their transformations in the context of ever-changing capitalism, and to further contribute to the critical accounting literature. Drawing on Debord's work, the paper also extends one's understanding of why donor agencies export ideas, including accounting practices and technologies. Practical implications ‐ The paper further enriches the possibility of critical consciousness and praxis in transforming and shaping the spectacle. By understanding the construction of the spectacle and its transformations, as Boje et al. argued, avenues for resistance are opened up. Originality/review ‐ The paper provides a perspective for the understanding of accounting changes, and it should open up avenues for further research regarding various forms of the spectacle that involve accounting techniques and practices.
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Keywords: Accounting; Uganda

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-03-29

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