Rum, Tid och Pengar - en studie om redovisning i praktiken
Accounting numbers affect people in many ways. This is an important research issue. This thesis attempts to problematise the relation between accounting numbers and what they refer to; a relation that is typically taken-for-granted. This is done through fi eld studies of accounting in practice and also through conceptualising accounting as a chain of translations. This conceptualisation focuses on how relations between people, things, movements and numbers are created in accounting documents, and on how accounting and its effects are then brought back to places of work. These associations are traced in three settings where accounting is taken for granted to a varying degree: the fi rst is a psoriasis centre, the second a public transportation company and the third an investment company. Three pictures emerge, each with its own complexities and ambiguities - in themselves typical contemporary phenomena. The practice of accounting in the fi rst setting is theorised as creating particular spatial formations. In the second, accounting shapes time as a way to produce space, that is, a particular spatial dynamics. In the last setting, accounting is claimed to produce value, or rather particular forms of valuing in space and time. These pictures form a ground for a theory that conceives of accounting in practice as a time/space/value machine. A theory is constructed around four concepts: The character of the associations, The integration of associations and the delimitation of movements, Order and its relation to change, The production of other spaces. Further, accounting in practice is claimed to go through three modes or phases. In the fi rst, accounting enables construction of revenue and cost-focussed space/value relations. In a second, accounting enables revenue and cost-focussed time relations to reconstruct space and spatial dynamics. The last and fi nal mode or phase is when accounting becomes taken for granted: time and space are "in place", value becomes coterminous with space and time. All this makes it possible to produce ever more abstract values, where things, people, and situations can be exchanged for one another or substituted by numbers. The thesis suggests that the practice of accounting produces new forms of space/time/value relations at the heart of everyday life and work. Tracing how this practice (re)translates numbers into money and vice versa, reveals accounting as a way of approaching the world in a subtle manner, and yet shaping that which can be thought, and even delimiting existence. The space/time/value relation created by accounting is a powerful base of personal and professional identities. Besides being a disciplinary force this relation permits certain experiences to emerge and excludes others.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Business and economics; Business studies
Date of Publication:01/01/2004