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"No accounting for these people”: Shell in Ireland and accounting language

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Show simple item record Killian, Sheila 2012-10-24T11:15:36Z 2012-10-24T11:15:36Z 2010
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract Accounting lays claims to be the language of business: a clear, technical, unambiguous means of communication for decisions on investment and economic development. Accounting concepts have increasingly entered mainstream debate on issues affecting society at large. This makes the fairness and effectiveness of accounting as a mode of communication more important for social justice than ever before. In a contentious development, if the discussion is framed primarily in accounting terms, this may disenfranchise those parties to the dispute whose issues are not readily expressed in the common vocabulary of business. Their concerns may become invisible in the debate. If this happens, then accounting has failed as a means of communication, and that failure is non-neutral in that it favours those whose position is best supported by economic arguments. This paper explores this phenomenon using the case of a dispute between Royal Dutch Shell and a local community in Ireland concerning a gas refinery located in an environmentally sensitive area. The issues in conflict are complex and at times intangible. I explore how the limitations of accounting as a language blinded the protagonists to an understanding of each other’s concerns, marginalised the concerns of protestors from the public discourse, shifting power from objectors within the local community to those whose primary concern was the economic exploitation of natural resources. I argue that accounting failed as a mode of communication to progress a resolution of the dispute, and that this failure was both unnecessary, and systematic in its support of economic interests. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Elsevier en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Critical Perspectives on Accounting;21(8), pp. 711-723
dc.rights This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Critical Perspecives on Accounting. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 2010 21(8), pp. 711-723 en_US
dc.subject accounting en_US
dc.subject language en_US
dc.subject multinational en_US
dc.subject protest en_US
dc.subject information en_US
dc.subject stakeholders en_US
dc.subject Ireland en_US
dc.subject power en_US
dc.title "No accounting for these people”: Shell in Ireland and accounting language en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US

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