Calculating Practices

Research output: Working paper


This paper discusses the concept of an ‘account’ and its many incarnations in sociology and accounting research to offer a comprehensive definition. Accounts are set up as two broad types (‘rational’ and ‘rhetorical’) to get at their mediation as the thing that is empirically different between accounts in certain differing situations. It is argued also that these types tacitly characterise two broad (though overlapping) research paradigms in sociology and accounting research. The functions of accounts, regardless of form, are asserted as attempts to present a moral self/present a course of action as morally justifiable and appropriate to the culture and situation in which the account is given and evaluated, and it is argued that this is the common ground between these research paradigms. These justifications are presented as the common factor in defining an account in order to provide an inclusive definition.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh
Number of pages36
ISBN (Print)1-900522-58-6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

Publication series

NameEdinburgh Working Papers in Sociology
PublisherSchool of Social & Political Science, University of Edinburgh


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