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Accounting, Organizations, and InstitutionsEssays in Honour of Anthony Hopwood$
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Christopher S. Chapman, David J. Cooper, and Peter Miller

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199546350

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546350.001.0001

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Accounts of Science

Accounts of Science

Chapter:
(p.315) 14 Accounts of Science
Source:
Accounting, Organizations, and Institutions
Author(s):

Theodore M. Porter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546350.003.0014

The standing of accounting among the academic disciplines has never been very high, in part because the work of accounting is not regarded as suitably creative. Yet when we think of knowledge as a set of institutionalized practices, the subservience of accounting to the sciences and to the ancient professions may be reversed. Fields like economics, engineering, biology, and medicine cannot escape the twin imperatives of commensuration and accountability, especially when these are brought to bear on matters of recognized public importance. In this regard, the career of cost-benefit quantification is exemplary. Knowledge and rationality, whenever they touch on politics and policy, have become closely bound up with a logic of accountancy.

Keywords:   objectivity, quantification, accountability, cost-benefit analysis, standardization, censuses, statistical significance, commensuration

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