Race and accountability and accounting
The last decade has brought considerable attention to the black and minority ethnic (BAME) community worldwide. In 2013, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was born following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the police officer who fatally injured Trevon Martin (aged 17) and subsequently gained momentum with a crescendo in 2020 when police murdered George Floyd. The movement sparked protests across the globe, people of all ethnicities joining together, demanding an end to what has been dubbed the 'racism pandemic'. There is a clear, tangible feeling that racial inequalities continue to plague our society. Indeed, the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on BAME communities in the U.S. and U.K. have laid bare the striking inequalities in society and consequences on the citizenry. Fuelled by neoliberal policies that systematically ignore the structural barriers facing BAME communities, these out-groups continue to be disadvantaged and often suffer from a disproportionately higher unemployment level, over-representation in the lowest skilled jobs and the most significant pay gaps (Perra, 2018).
While the BLM movement has brought issues of racism and racial inequality to the fore of public consciousness, even if for a brief moment, these issues are not new. History is replete with evidence of racism and racial inequality and resistance to these – the transatlantic slave trade; apartheid; colonial subjugation and exploitation of Africa, Asia, Indigenous communities of the U.S., Australia and Canada; the abolitionist movement; the U.S. civil rights movement. In more recent times, we have witnessed the rise of new forms of racism such as environmental racism and the intensification of older forms such as anti-migrant sentiment. Anti-migrant sentiment has found expression in Brexit in the U.K. and Trumpism in the U.S., and hostile immigration policies from Northern governments such as in Australia, the E.U., the U.K. and the U.S., which have ripped migrant communities off their dignity and precipitated the rise in border deaths.
In addition to the new and intensified forms of racism, we are also confronted with an adaptation in the expression of racism. Indeed, most democratic societies condemn the open and traditional forms of prejudice and racism in our times. However, this has not led to the disappearance of traditional racist attitudes and behaviours. Instead, these have assumed more covert forms which masked themselves in the rhetoric of "fairness" and "reverse discrimination" and, thus, become more socially acceptable. To cope with these, researchers in the social sciences have developed new conceptions of racism such as modern racism (McConahay, 1986), symbolic racism (Sears and Henry, 2003), aversive racism (Dovidio and Gaertner, 2004), ambivalent racism (Fiske, 2011), cordial racism (Owensby, 2005). However, research in business, management and accounting fields progress has been much slower.
In the accounting field, some progress has been made in focusing attention on issues closely related to race, such as migrant communities (McPhail et al., 2016); indigenous tribes (Chew and Greer, 1997; Gibson, 2000); African (Denedo et al., 2017; Hammond et al., 2017; Nyamori et al., 2017) and Asian (Chua et al., 2019) issues; and modern slavery (Christ et al., 2020; Christ and Burritt, 2021). The Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ) and Critical Perspectives on Accounting (CPA) journals have been at the fore of this development - both have recently run a special issue on Africa, and AAAJ also ran a special section on modern slavery. While these developments have opened up spaces for discussion and debate on issues bordering on race, there is a sense that these only scratch at the surface in terms of accounting's relation to race and racial inequality. Only a tiny stream of critical accounting research has inquired specifically into accounting's enrollment in society's deeper structures of racial inequality (e.g. Davie, 2005; Dyball and Rooney, 2012; Hammond et al., 2012; Upton and Arrington, 2012). Reviewing this work over 25 years, Annisette and Prasad (2017, p. 6) reflect "whether critical accounting scholars by dint of their silence on the racial dramas of our times are part of that other chorus—the one that sings praise to the faded myth of a post-racial world". In the business and management field, Nkomo (2021) highlights a similar silence and also alludes to acts of "epistemic violence – silencing race and the Black voices who sought to bring it into the academy" (Nkomo, 2021, p. 213) by high ranking journals and editors. Comparing the incidence of business, management and accounting studies on race with those on gender and other inequalities, it is concluded that "some inequalities seem to be taken more seriously than others" (Crewe and Fernando, 2006, p. 40). Indeed, the calls for more research on race and racial inequality in the business management and accounting fields by Annisette and Prasad (2017) and Nkomo (2021) do not seem to have attracted much attention.
In this AAAJ special issue, we endeavour to begin addressing this imbalance by calling the global community of scholars and practitioners to critically explore race and racial (in)equality in the context of business, management, accounting, and accountability, broadly defined. We encourage potential contributors to interpret this theme broadly to capture a variety of potential settings ranging from (but not restricted to) corporations, the accountancy profession and university settings to other forms of institutions such as the police force and charities, and neoliberalists more recently, populist government policies. Scholars have scope to consider a diverse set of theoretical and methodological perspectives, and both encounters that cast light onto the darker side of accounting and organisational practices and result in uplifting stories are welcome.
Topics of interest may include but are not limited to:
Accounting and accountability for racial inequality in response to COVID-19;
Business and accounting participation in the colonial subjugation and exploitation of Africa, Asia, Indigenous communities;
Accounting and accountability for environmental and climate racism;
Modern slavery and race;
New forms of racism and racial injustice;
Resistance to racism and racial injustice;
The play-out of neoliberalist and populist government policies in different quarters including education, immigration and healthcare;
The play-out of discriminatory practices in institutional forms such as the police force, non-profits and the health service;
Corporate sustainability practices with a specific emphasis on race;
Outcomes of standards and benchmarks promote racial equality in particular sectors such as the accountancy profession and higher education.
ScholarOne submissions will open at the beginning of October 2022.
Full paper submission deadline: 1 November 2023
The guest editors’ welcome enquiries from those who are interested in submitting. Any queries or enquiries about the special issue should be directed to any of the editors at the following addresses:
Prof. Gloria Agyemang, Royal Holloway, University of London, [email protected]
Dr. Alpa Dhanani, Cardiff University, [email protected]
Dr. Amanze Ejiogu, Newcastle University, [email protected]
Dr. Stephanie Perkiss, University of Wollongong, [email protected]
AAAJ Special Issue Preparatory Workshop
To help authors prepare their manuscripts for submission, a Special Issue Workshop will be held on 16 September 2022 at Cardiff University (Cardiff, UK) in association with Newcastle University, Royal Holloway University and the University of Wollongong. The workshop will take a hybrid format with online and in-person sessions and seek to help authors develop their papers. Presentation at the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper for publication in the Special Issue, and equally, participation in the workshop is not a precondition for submitting a manuscript to it. If you would like to participate in the workshop, please email a one page summary of your paper, focusing on the theory, approach and key results, to Alpa Dhanani ([email protected]) before 17 August 2022.
Annisette, M. and Prasad, A. (2017), "Critical accounting research in hyper-racial times", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 43, pp. 5–19.
Chew, A. and Greer, S. (1997), "Contrasting world views on accounting", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 276–298.
Christ, K.L. and Burritt, R.L. (2021), "Accounting for modern slavery risk in the time of COVID-19: challenges and opportunities", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 1484–1501.
Christ, K.L., Burritt, R.L. and Schaltegger, S. (2020), "Accounting for work conditions from modern slavery to decent work", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 33 No. 7, pp. 1481–1504.
Chua, W.F., Dyball, M.C. and Yee, H. (2019), "Professionalization in Asia – whence and whither", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 32 No. 8, pp. 2253–2281.
Crewe, E. and Fernando, P. (2006), "The elephant in the room: racism in representations, relationships and rituals", Progress in Development Studies, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 40–54.
Davie, S.S.K. (2005), "The politics of accounting, race and ethnicity: a story of a Chiefly-based preferencing", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 551–577.
Denedo, M., Thomson, I. and Yonekura, A. (2017), "International advocacy NGOs, counter accounting, accountability and engagement", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 1309–1343.
Dovidio, J.F. and Gaertner, S.L. (2004), "Aversive racism", Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 36, pp. 1–52.
Dyball, M.C. and Rooney, J. (2012), "Re-visiting the interface between race and accounting: Filipino workers at the Hamakua Mill Company, 1921–1939", Accounting History, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 221–240.
Fiske, S.T. (2011), "Managing Ambivalent Prejudices: Smart-but-Cold and Warm-but-Dumb Stereotypes", The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 639 No. 1, pp. 33–48.
Gibson, K. (2000), "Accounting as a tool for Aboriginal dispossession: then and now", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 289–306.
Hammond, T., Clayton, B.M. and Arnold, P.J. (2012), "An 'unofficial' history of race relations in the South African accounting industry, 1968–2000: Perspectives of South Africa's first black chartered accountants", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 23 No. 4–5, pp. 332–350.
Hammond, T., Cooper, C. and van Staden, C.J. (2017), "Anglo American Corporation and the South African State", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 1399–1423.
McConahay, J.B. (1986), "Modern racism, ambivalence, and the modern racism scale.", in Dovidio, J.F. and Gaertner, S.L. (Eds.), Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism, Academic Press, Orlando, FL, pp. 91–125.
McPhail, K., Nyamori, R.O. and Taylor, S. (2016), "Escaping accountability: a case of Australia's asylum seeker policy", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 947–984.
Nkomo, S.M. (2021), "Reflections on the continuing denial of the centrality of 'race' in management and organisation studies", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal.
Nyamori, R.O., Abdul-Rahaman, A.S. and Samkin, G. (2017), "Accounting, auditing and accountability research in Africa", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 1206–1229.
Owensby, B. (2005), "Toward a history of Brazil's" cordial racism": Race beyond liberalism", Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 47 No. 2, pp. 318–347.
Perra, A. (2018), "Britain Today: Between State Racism and Ruthless Neoliberalism", CounterPunch, 30 May, available at: https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/05/30/britain-today-between-state-rac….
Sears, D.O. and Henry, P.J. (2003), "The origins of symbolic racism.", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 85 No. 2, p. 259.
Upton, D.R. and Arrington, C.E. (2012), "Implicit racial prejudice against African-Americans in balanced scorecard performance evaluations", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 23 No. 4–5, pp. 281–297.