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Accounting for Napoleonic Imperialism in Tuscany and the Kingdom of Naples

Di Cimbrini, T., Funnell, Warwick N., Bigoni, M., Migliori, S., Consorti, A. (2020) Accounting for Napoleonic Imperialism in Tuscany and the Kingdom of Naples. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 33 (2). pp. 391-416. ISSN 0951-3574. (doi:10.1108/AAAJ-04-2018-3467) (KAR id:78534)

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https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-04-2018-3467

Abstract

Purpose. The study examines the role of accounting in the enactment of the Napoleonic imperial project in Tuscany and the Kingdom of Naples in the early 19th century.

Design/methodology/approach. The study adopts the Foucauldian theoretical framework of governmentality and a comparative approach to highlight similarities and differences between the two regions. Findings. The presence of different cultural understandings and structures of power meant that in Tuscany accounting mirrored and reinforced the existing power structure, whereas in the Kingdom of Naples accounting practices were constitutive of power relations and acted as a compensatory mechanism. In the Kingdom of Naples, where local elites had been traditionally involved in ruling municipalities, control of accounting information and the use of resources ‘re-adjusted’ the balance of power in favour of the French whilst letting local population believe that Napoleon was respectful of local customs. Research implications. The ability of accounting technologies to act as compensatory mechanisms within governmentality systems paves the way to further investigations about the relationships between accounting and other governmentality technologies as well as the adjustment mechanisms leading to accounting resilience in different contexts. Social implications. By identifying accounting as an adaptive instrument supporting less obvious practices of domination the study helps unmask a hidden mechanism underlying attempts to know, govern and control populations which still characterises modern forms of imperialism. Originality/value. The comparative perspective leads to a new specification of the multifaceted roles that accounting plays in different cultural and political contexts in the achievement of the same set of imperial goals and enhances understanding of the translation of politics, rhetoric and power into a set of administrative tasks and calculative practices.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/AAAJ-04-2018-3467
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School
Depositing User: Michele Bigoni
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2019 12:32 UTC
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 03:20 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/78534 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Funnell, Warwick N.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3089-0908
Bigoni, M.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5803-249X
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