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Accounting for the public interest: public ineffectuals or public intellectuals?

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Purpose ‐ To present a case for accounting and finance academics to have a more active social role. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A range of published works by "public intellectuals" on praxis is presented. Each theorist could be considered to be an eminent theoretician in their own right; what marks them out is that they have developed their theories by active engagement. Findings ‐ The economic and political interests of the world in which academics operate are perpetuated by the creation of a breed of intellectuals who encounter significant challenges not only to questioning the status quo but, perhaps more importantly, to venturing outside of the academy. Yet, arguably there has never been a more important time for academics to do just that. Academics are armed with the necessary theoretical and research skills to bring coherence to fledgling movements and to enable them to overcome the barriers created by the myths perpetuated to hamper social protest. Originality/value ‐ This paper offers practical and theoretical advice to enable and encourage accounting and finance academics to enrich their work by active engagement with the social problems of the time.
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Keywords: Accounting; Public interest; Social dynamics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2005

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