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Accounting. Die Macht der Zahlen im gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus

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Summary

Calculative schemes (e.g. gross national product, rate of unemployment, return on investment) are tools for the control of contemporary capitalist societies as well as means for its self-perception. Politically the power of numbers draws on its institutionally secured ability to define, respectively reconstruct, relevant ends and performance-parameters for organizations as well as individuals or entire systems of action. Moreover, the calculative practices of accounting represent socially and individually hardly contestable patterns, shaping or even constituting the construction of our selfs as well as constellations of social problems, being part of the overall constructive process of the world and attaching meaning to it. This article outlines relevant aspects of accounting-research in the Anglo-Saxon context on the level of organization, profession and the individual, and points to some theoretical shortcomings particularly of the so-called post-modern strand in this field. However, an analysis of the calculative practices of accounting will contribute to a better understanding of contemporary capitalism.

Résumé

L’image de soi des sociétés capitalistes contemporaines, leurs procédés de gouvernement et de contrôle reposent sur des constructions de chiffres et de calculs, comme le produit national brut, le taux de chômage ou le retour sur l’investissement. Le pouvoir du chiffre se résume pratiquement à sa capacité (une capacité garantie par le contexte institutionnel) de définir et de reconstruire les paramètres de succès sur le plan social. Simultanément, ces pratiques de calcul relevant du „Accounting“ créent des modèles de perception de problèmes et de perception de soi que la société et l’individu ne peuvent dépasser, représentant par là un moment important dans la construction d’une réalité sociale. L’article ébauche les aspects importants de la recherche anglo-saxonne sur „l’Accounting“ au niveau de l’organisation, de la profession et de l’individu, pour renvoyer dans un second temps à certaines lacunes de la recherche et de la théorie en se focalisant sur le mouvement post-moderne de ce courant scientifique. L’analyse des pratiques de calcul inhérentes à la recherche sur „l’Accounting“ pourrait combler un vide dans l’ analyse contemporaine du capitalisme.

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Vormbusch, U. Accounting. Die Macht der Zahlen im gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus. Berl.J.Soziol. 14, 33–50 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03204695

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