Operationalizing expulsion. Jewish accountants in Fascist Italy, 1938-1943

Valerio Antonelli, Raffaele D'Alessio, Stephen P. Walker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In contrast to the conventional focus on social exclusion in studies of the accountancy profession, this paper examines the race-based expulsion of a group of established practitioners. It does so by analysing the removal of Jews from the profession in Fascist Italy. Drawing on Foucault’s concepts of biopolitics and race, and an array of primary and secondary sources, the paper explores the apparatuses of biopower deployed to cleanse the professional population of Jews. These included anti-Semitic legislation to define the offending population, a census to identify and locate it, and bureaucratic mechanisms to secure its removal. It is shown that following their fascistization, accountancy organisations in Italy functioned as agencies for the purification of the profession. Although the object to ‘kill’ through expulsion was activated in most cases, the existence of transitional ‘let live’ provisions indicated the complexities of activating a biopolitical project on the basis of biological racism. When parts of Italy came under German control in 1943, ‘indirect murder’ through expulsion was supplanted by the actual murder of a number of Jewish accountants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102462
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date30 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • accounting profession
  • biopolitics
  • Italy
  • Fascism
  • expulsion

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