Child accounting and 'the handling of human souls'

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Child accounting texts published in the US during the early to mid-20th century are utilised to reveal the potency of Foucauldian analyses of accounting as a disciplinary technology. It is contended that child accounting - a voguish technique for recording, monitoring and governing the school pupil - provides a compelling illustration of Foucault's emphasis on individualisation as a foundation for the exercise of disciplinary power. Further, child accounting encompassed mundane practices which could activate disciplinary power such as continuous hierarchical surveillance and normalising judgment. Centred on the child in the place of instruction rather than the employee in the corporation, the study offers a socio-historical exploration of accounting at its margins and in a domain where Foucault's work on discipline has particular resonance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-657
Number of pages30
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

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