Unification and Dual Closure in the Italian Accountancy Profession, 1861–1906

Stephen Walker, Stefano Coronella, Massimo Sargiacomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on Parkin's [Marxism and class theory: A bourgeois critique. London: Tavistock Publications] concept of dual closure, this paper examines the attempt to secure the regulation of the accountancy profession in post-unification Italy. The state's establishment of a class of ‘expert accountants’ in 1865 represented an imperfect closure of the profession. In consequence, a chain of closure attempts ensued. These ventures involved shifting constructions of dominant and subordinate occupational groups and the deployment of diverse strategies to achieve usurpationary and exclusionary forms of closure. The study reveals that the achievement of state regulation of the profession in 1906 reflected the successful pursuit of usurpationary closure by a subordinated group within the accountancy field. However, it also points to the failure of the profession's efforts to make incursions into the jurisdictions of higher status occupations, especially lawyers, who wielded considerable sociopolitical power in newly unified Italy. Consistent with the findings of previous studies, the paper confirms the complexity and uncertain outcomes of closure projects in the accountancy profession.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Accounting Review
Early online date7 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


  • Italy
  • accountancy profession
  • history


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